Australian news, and some related international items

A Quorn resident disgusted at the hypocritical dump site process by Dept of Industry, Innovation and Science


My name is Dave Fergusson. I grew up in Port Adelaide and from the moment I learnt to drive I have been coming up to Flinders Ranges for camping holidays and for work ever since until I decided to move to Quorn about sixteen years ago. I am absolutely disgusted at the way in which this push by the Department (DIIS) to find a site for a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) has been conducted from day one. Please find below a few of my reasons.

1/ Land nomination of Wallerberdina Station. The first that I heard of a waste dump being proposed in the Flinders Ranges was when I was in Adelaide Hospital in December 2015. After making several enquiries as to where it was to be proposed to be built it was found to be an Ex-Senator from South Australia, Mr Grant Chapman who co-owned this property Wallerberdina. This man has not ever lived in the area nor on the property and was a deputy chairman on the Lucus Heights Waste Management Board back in the late nineties. He did not consult with any of his neighbours about his nomination of this station to get away from the designated use of the land. IE. Pastoral. Had he have been establishing a tourist venture or a quandong farm on his property, this could have been put down to an oversite on his behalf. But a nuclear waste dump !!!. Even the aboriginal people whose connections to this area go back for thousands of years were not consulted. When I spoke to DIIS in 2016 I was told it was purely coincidence that Mr Chapman just happened to have all this information regarding a NRWMF and had nothing whatsoever to do with the nomination of the property.!!!

2/ The Need To Determine Broad Community Support During the early consultation days when the DIIS staff would come over here, it appeared as if they were not able to answer any of my more pertinent questions and would fob me off. There appeared to be a light feel to the sales spin and if we didn’t hurry up, then someone else could end up getting it. No one I talked to could understand why any one would want to put a waste dump in the Flinders. As no notes were ever taken at these informal meetings there would have been no record of names of who would attend or what their concerns were, especially if the concern was asking deeper and more meaning full questions.

When the radioactive waste at Woomera was discovered leaching into the ground, DIIS staff glossed over it saying this is why we need a NRWMF. If it’s at Woomera leaking all over the place and DIIS, ANSTO, CSIRO and ARPANSA, all Government departments, know of its existence then how can we be sure it’s not going to happen again? These Departments and the people who manage them are the ones that we have to put our trust in that they are managing the radioactive waste to the best possible standards. The leaking drums of unknown radioactive strength, some low, some intermediate and some with toxic chemicals are still sitting on site today on top of a concrete pad even though it was reported two years ago. This information has been suppressed to the public by the media and television.

The general public barely know this stuff exists, it will all be swept up and bought to the NRWMF wherever that may be. I don’t believe this is an issue for the communities of Hawker, Quorn and now Kimba to have to decide if we want it or not. It has already been seen that the people don’t want it. So why are they still pushing saying that transparency and openness is paramount!!!

3/ Disunity within the community What has become very noticeable is the fact that this process is splitting communities and families apart. Some who are just driven by the money can not see that waste is forever, money and our lives are not. If this goes ahead it will open up a pandora’s box. Last December 2017 I drove up to a public meeting at Hawker organised by the Hawker Community Development Board (HCDB)and DIIS for them to display several leading doctors to talk on the wonders of nuclear medicine and the life saving procedures that it produces. I waited until the presentation was over and as there were no comments from the public, I stood to ask one of the Doctors a question. I was then told by the convenor that I was not allowed to ask any questions as I did not live in Hawker. So much for openness and transparency. It was a public meeting for members of the public to attend. The Doctor asked me at the close of the meeting what my question was but I was too upset to go further with it. The senior DIIS member there also said afterwards, that it was the HCDB who chaired the meeting and as a result DIIS could not intervene. It is just another example of what I and many others are trying to say that we are being fed just the right amount of information to make us all want to have the NRWMF. They don’t want to listen to professors and doctors of geology who have worked and taught student’s geology in the area saying the proposed location is on a major fault line.

I have been evicted three times now from the Barndioota consultative Committee (BCC) meetings. These are meetings that are supposed to be run by the BCC to inform the general public of whatever information that DIIS want distributed, and concerns that the public have, to be made known to the DIIS. I have always been as unobtrusive as possible and only wished to observe. However, on three occasions it has been DIIS staff who have escorted me out. The openness and transparency just does not appear to be there.

4/ Jobs for the future It has been reported that last Friday, at a talk and dinner function, organised by DIIS at Hawker that an additional thirty new jobs will now be established at the NRWMF. This dinner was by invitation only and the selected few, were able to listen and hear the CEO of ANSTO announce the decision by the minister to create another thirty jobs. This is on top of the fifteen jobs already known about since 2016, to manage exactly the same waste that was coming into the NRWMF the week before the dinner function!!!!. I find this announcement insulting to our intelligence. Watch any documentary on our future and they all say the same thing. Robotics and A.I. will be our future. Its here now in the mining industry. One show on commercial television said “40% of Australian jobs could disappear within the next fifteen years due to robotics and artificial intelligence in the work force.” I wrote this down from the show to put it in here. Also, in the Worksafe book, it states that due to climate change within the next ten years that most outside jobs will be done robotically.

I would like to say thank you to Senator Rex Patrick for giving the concerned public a chance Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia Submission 106 to voice our opinions on this issue. Because I struggle to put my own words down on paper, I would sincerely like to be able to have the opportunity to talk at a Senate Hearing either here, at Adelaide or Canberra. I


June 20, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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