Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s Federal government process for nuclear waste dump siting disrespects indigenous community

It has been said that this dump will not go ahead if the community is opposed to it, therefore we don’t understand why this discussion is even still happening given that the clear majority of Traditional Owners are so opposed to it?

This area is currently under some protection from the Aboriginal Heritage Act of SA however, we are concerned that the Federal Government may attempt to override this state legislation. This concern is increased given that the government has suspended federal environmental and Aboriginal heritage protections during the siting period for the planned dump.

ATLA is in partnership with IBA in owning the Wilpena Pound Resort and we don’t want a waste dump to affect our tourism future.

It is NOT international best practice to go against the Traditional Owners and we call upon the federal government to stop this proposal immediately

How can you determine Indigenous support, for each process advancement stage, when ATLA was not approached until the project entered phase 2.

Adnyamathanha Traditional Land Association RNTBC, Submission to the senate inquiry into the Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia. Introduction (Submission No.42)

The Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association RNTBC is the peak body for all matters relating to land, culture, heritage, language and native title for Adnyamathanha people. Adnyamathanha country includes the oldest mountain range in the world and we have the oldest living culture in the world.

Adnyamathanha people are important keepers of the knowledge of this country that is recognised worldwide. This is a very important role for each and every one of us to keep this culture strong and to protect this mountain range and surrounding country and ensure our knowledges are understood by future generations.

The Association has been set up on a culturally appropriate model that allows all Adnyamathanha people to have representation on this peak body. We have a governing committee of up to 24 members and each of these members represents a particular group of Adnyamathanha people. Our Board of Directors meet throughout the year to make the decisions in relation to the matters arising and where necessary decisions are brought back to the community for discussion and ratification.

This has been a very successful process for us all with our Consent Determination being handed down in 2009. We have been united in this process and by working together we have really achieved a great deal for our people and for the future generations. We have only achieved this because we work so hard to keep our culture strong and we were able to prove that we know our country and we know our story lines and our language is kept strong.

ATLA is in partnership with IBA to purchase the Wilpena Pound Resort.

Muda

Yura Muda is our term for our spiritual and cultural beliefs, it gives us our law, our rules for living and defines our spiritual beliefs and our boundaries. We believe our Muda in a way that is deeper than most other religions.

Some areas of our Muda have been disturbed or destroyed, by mining and other developments over the years and this causes a great deal of distress to our people. Once the land is destroyed the Muda is gone, we can no longer pass on that cultural and spiritual information to our younger generations and this of course effects our cultural survival.

The Waste Dump

The nuclear waste facility proposed for the Wallerberdina/Barndioota is in our country. We understand that this federal plan seeks to deal with the disposal of low level waste and the interim storage of intermediate level waste for a non-defined period at the facility site. In this submission we refer to the plan as a dump, please note that this refers to both the dump and store concepts. Our organisation has voted on several occasions stating we are totally opposed to the waste dump in that particular area.

We have been opposed to this dump from day one and we have made our views public where ever possible.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/29/indigenous-elders-outraged-at-siteearmarked-for-australias-first-nuclear-waste-dump https://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/4448040/atla-against-radioactive-waste/

On Saturday the 24th of March 2018 the ATLA AGM moved the following motion:-

“The Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association remains totally opposed to the nuclear waste dump at Wallerberdina

This is our land, our culture and we must have veto over this toxic waste being dumped in our country. Udnyus come and go but we will be here forever. We say NO to the waste dump, for our grandchildren and their grandchildren and many generations to come.”

Broad community support:

We are concerned as to how the government is defining the “broad community support” and the actual community that is affected by this dump. This dump will effect ALL Adnyamathanha people for hundreds of generations to come and we all need to be included in the community with reference to this area. We have over 2500 Adnyamathanha people and ATLA is the Prescribed Body Corporate and the Aboriginal Regional Authority, to represent them all. The Government must respect ATLA and we reiterate that ATLA is totally opposed to a waste dump at that site.

To suggest that a 50km range around the Barndioota site as the extent of the affected community is absolutely unacceptable to Adnyamathanha people. ATLA must be involved in every negotiation this effects ALL of our people.

It has been said that this dump will not go ahead if the community is opposed to it, therefore we don’t understand why this discussion is even still happening given that the clear majority of Traditional Owners are so opposed to it?

The suggested area is very important to us and is part of the first registered songlines in the country. There are burial sites in that area along with megafauna remains. We have already proved that our people were here at the same time as megafauna. This surely means that our area is very important not only to us or to the Nation but at an International level. The Hookina Waterhole is part of ancient water, there has been a hydrology report on that area, that shows this ancient water eventually flows out to the Gulf at Port Augusta. This is very important area for us all.

This area is currently under some protection from the Aboriginal Heritage Act of SA however, we are concerned that the Federal Government may attempt to override this state legislation. This concern is increased given that the government has suspended federal environmental and Aboriginal heritage protections during the siting period for the planned dump.

No-one is listening to us, the Traditional Owners, all we are asking is that the government respect ATLA and stop this waste dump at this location.

There has been a recent furore about 6 wind turbines being built at Bullecourt in France where about 2500 Australians were killed in the first World War. One of the turbine was going to be 500 metres from the “Diggers Memorial” and we have seen a Federal Government Minister saying he will do everything he can to stop it!

Minister Tehan, Minister for Veterans Affairs said, “From a ministerial point of view, I will be doing everything I can to protect this land for future generations of Australians, and also for French citizens as well,” he said (8/11/17)

The Minister won’t allow the “desecration” of this killing field, by the building of a wind farm and it is not even in Australia. But the total desecration of our Muda and our sites continues every day in this country

The wind farm was stopped, and a spokesman said:-

“The recent reactions have highlighted the symbolic nature and sacredness of the site,” the spokesman said, insisting the company had respected the history of the site from the outset.”

So this French company has respected the “sacredness” of this site to Australian people, we ask that the Australian Government show the same respect to our sacred areas and not put this waste dump at Wallerberdina.

The federal nuclear regulator ARPANSA – the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency have to approve and licence any such dump and ARPANSA are required under their legislation – the ARPANS Act – to act in a manner consistent with international best practise.

It is NOT international best practice to go against the Traditional Owners and we call upon the federal government to stop this proposal immediately.

Tourism

In 2016 the Flinders Ranges and outback was the third most popular visitor attraction, attracting 574,000 domestic visitors who stayed 2.6 million visitor nights. The Flinders and outback provided 45 percent of tourism revenue, which contributed over $2 billion into the economy.

ATLA is in partnership with IBA in owning the Wilpena Pound Resort and we don’t want a waste dump to affect our tourism future. Appropriately managed tourism is a way to have an economic future for Adnyamathanha people by sharing our cultural values but not damaging our cultural values and our land. This will give our people real jobs. We already have 68% Aboriginal employment at Wilpena.

Only this week the SA Tourism Commission released figures that showed that the Flinders Ranges region has had a huge increase in both dollars spent and nights stayed in our region. We don’t want anything to affect that! We believe this waste dump will kill tourism in our area.

We must keep our Muda strong.

Our old people have cried enough, don’t make our people continue to cry for future generations.

We don’t want this waste dump, please stop this now.

The financial compensation appears to be money for the boys, Mr Chapman will make money out of poisoning our land. He has only been here a very short time, but we have been here forever and will be here forever moving forward. We don’t want it and there should be no compensation for the so called land owners who ‘volunteer’ a site against the wishes of the Traditional Owners!

Traditional Owner support

As we have stated above we believe we are the community that should decide on this and we say NO. We have over 2500 Adnyamathanha people and that is far more than the non-Aboriginal people in that region. It is our country and we say NO!

ATLA was not contacted until phase 2 of the Wallerberdina proposal. We were ignored by the government for quite some time. So we were not even a part of the process for the first two “advancement stages”. ATLA is the RNTBC and the ARA and we were ignored so clearly the government does not respect us as Traditional Owners! ATLA was disgusted and frustrated by the arrogance of the government to completely ignore us as the Traditional Owners, we have attached the media release we put out at that time.

But any determination of “broad community support” must take into consideration our people, all of us, not just people living in a 50 km radius. This waste is going to affect large areas of Australia as it must be transported from Lucas Heights, so this is not an issue for a small group of locals.

The Minister attempting to protect the war memorial in France is not considering a radius of 50km he is covering 15,000 kms to ensure the war memorial is saved and that is only 100 years old. Our Muda is timeless, we ate the megafauna, our culture must be protected due to the importance of it at a national and an international level!

There is an absolute need for support from the Traditional Owners and we do NOT support this dump. We must have a right of veto and we say no!

After the referendum in South Australia in relation to nuclear waste storage the then Premier Jay Weatherill clearly stated that Aboriginal people must have veto over any such facility. The current Premier of South Australia, Stephen Marshall states on his own website “A Marshall Liberal Government will not support the building of a nuclear waste repository in South Australia.” Therefore, there is bipartisan opposition in the state parliament to this waste dump and the Traditional Owners are totally opposed to the proposal. These two groups represent the whole community involved so stop this waste dump now!

How can you determine Indigenous support, for each process advancement stage, when ATLA was not approached until the project entered phase 2. The government are not treating ATLA with the respect we deserve in this matter. We are the key stakeholders.

In the NRWMF community sentiments survey by Orima Research released in April 2016 it shows on page 60 of the report that 97% of Indigenous people opposed the facility at Barndioota. So there is minuscule support from Indigenous people.

Once we were finally included we were told by Minister Canavan, that no sites would be interfered with, not tangible or intangible sites! But the first time RPS, the external heritage consultants engaged by the federal government, went out to do the so called “Heritage Assessment” they did damage sites and we have reported them to State Aboriginal Heritage for charges to be laid in relation to this. We maintain RPS has acted in clear breach of the Aboriginal Heritage Act. ATLA was again ignored and we had no choice but to pull out of the “Heritage Assessment” process. This means this whole process is totally flawed and does not have the involvement or backing of the peak body for Adnyamathanha people.

ATLA has no confidence in or support for the current federal process.

Indigenous support does not exist we have made that very clear from day one and we continue to oppose this waste dump at this site. ATLA remains totally opposed to this dump! As with any situation, there are one or two Adnyamathanha who are supporting this dump but the vast majority remain totally opposed to the dump and ATLA as the representative body has always been totally opposed.

Community benefit program

The “the community benefit program” has been a disaster for our region. It has caused a great deal of stress and arguments. ATLA was harassed for support letters from non-Aboriginal groups and individuals who wanted to access these funds and they thought having our support would assist them. We were assured that it was not connected to the waste dump and rather the process.

However, ATLA took a very strong stance about this money, we felt it was coercion money and that we would have nothing what so ever to do with it. If it wasn’t for the waste dump the funds would not have existed, therefore it was waste dump money. We did not apply for the funds in any form and we did not support anyone who was applying for this dirty money.

However, ATLA was put under a great deal of pressure and it caused stress on our staff dealing with abusive and offensive people who wanted their support letters from ATLA.

This fund made us more determined to oppose this dump. Our culture is not for sale to the highest bidder! The Government either has no concept of the importance of our culture or they are ignoring how important it is and they think by throwing a few $$ at us, we will allow this poison into our land.

This land is a special part of our Muda and cannot be bought. It always was and always will be Adnyamathanha land. We will be here long after this money has been spent and the waste will be here for hundreds of generations to come. We have a responsibility to our land and our Muda to protect it, so we have a deep cultural and spiritual obligation to do everything we can to stop this dump in our land.

This process has been divisive and abusive in the way it has been handled. There have been funds offered to buy off the local communities and this has caused distress and it has split families and communities.

We cannot understand why this whole situation has even occurred. Why our people have been put under such huge stress. We have had people hospitalised due to the stress caused by this waste dump and we don’t even believe there is a need for it!

Of course as a nation we have to deal with our waste, but we are doing that at Lucas Heights, why can’t it just stay there. We are told all the time it is all perfectly safe, they even have a café at Lucas Heights, well if it is that safe then leave it there and simply upgrade that facility as and when required.

We don’t want this dump, but if it were to happen there would not be the security and monitoring that there is at Lucas Heights. We are concerned that if the federal government gets a dump site they will just dump it out here on our country and forget about it. That is what they have done at Woomera and the drums at Woomera are leaking after just 30 years!

The Government are very keen for us all to go and look at their pristine facility at Lucas Heights but when we suggested visiting Woomera they were not so keen! The federal government has not adequately engaged Adnyamathanha people or respected our clear position against the dump plan.

The federal government is the project proponent and so is both judge and jury on radioactive waste. This conflict of interest means the government is not a neutral party in relation to information and advice about the dump and ATLA has no confidence in the government’s assurances about the dump.

Instead of this continued push to regional and remote communities to store and dump the waste we want a full and transparent inquiry to look at all options of nuclear waste management in a calm and sensible way.

Aboriginal communities are tired of this waste dump being thrust on us, we want a fair and proper process to decide what we need to do as a nation with regards to our nuclear waste.

We would welcome the opportunity to present to the regional hearing, we must be able to speak directly to the committee as the representative body for the Adnyamathanha people.

ATLA says:-

“The Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association remains totally opposed to the nuclear waste dump at Wallerberdina

This is our land, our culture and we must have veto over this toxic waste being dumped in our country. Udnyus come and go but we will be here forever. We say NO to the waste dump, for our grandchildren and their grandchildren and many generations to come.”

We must keep our Muda strong.

Our old people have cried enough, don’t make our people continue to cry for future generations.

We don’t want this waste dump, please stop this now.

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May 21, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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