Australian news, and some related international items

Regina McKenzie’s detailed letters to Minister Matt Canavan ask the hard questions about the proposed Barndioota nuclear waste dump

By ignoring the well-established Commonwealth Government consultation guidelines
(available at, it is our belief that the DIIS has caused significant reputational risk to the Commonwealth of Australia.
Both the Native Title body (ATLA), and the relevant individual custodians for the project area have completely lost faith in the consultation process undertaken by the DIIS. The current program of Aboriginal community engagement for this project has all but collapsed and only non-relevant Aboriginal people remain on the consultative committee.
In particular we note that the EPBC Act recognises the following three key documents as best practice for Aboriginal community engagement in Australia. These documents are particularly relevant to all projects that require approval by the Federal Minister for the Environment under existing EPBC Act processes:
1. Commonwealth of Australia (COFA), 2016. Engage Early – Guidance for Proponents on Best Practice Indigenous Engagement for Environmental Assessments Under the EPBC Act’ (the Guidelines).
2. Australian Heritage Commission (AHC), 2002. Ask First – A Guide to Respecting Indigenous Heritage Places and Values.
3. Australia ICOMOS, 2013. Burra Charter and associated Practice Notes.
Regina McKenzie Letter to Minister the Hon. Matthew Canavan Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia
Submission 107 – Attachment 1 to Submission to Senate
Regina McKenzie
Hawker South Australia
Senator the Hon. Matthew James Canavan
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia
Thursday 8 February 2018
Dear Senator Canavan
Re: Your commitment to protect and not cause harm to Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in the Flinders Ranges
As you may be aware, recent actions undertaken by the environmental consultancy directly engaged by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) has resulted in harm to a significant Aboriginal site in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia. The identified harm occurred to a previously known Aboriginal site that has been recorded on the Central
Archive of the Register of Aboriginal Sites and Objects that is maintained by the South Australian Government, Department of State Development – Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation (DSD-AAR). The issue of harm by the DIIS and their preferred supplier is being considered as a potential breach of the South Australian Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988, and is pending a formal compliance investigation by DSD-AAR. We add that formal legal
advice is also being sought by the prescribed body corporate of the Native Title body for the Flinders Ranges, the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA). Given the likely legal ramifications of this potential breach of the South Australian Aboriginal Heritage Act, we will, for the time being, leave these matters of fact in the hands of the regulatory and judicial systems.
I do wish, however, to acknowledge the Commonwealth Government’s repeated commitment to: (1) protect; and (2) do no harm to the Aboriginal cultural heritage of our region through the investigations and/or implementation of the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) proposed project area in Barndioota have given. Additional reasoning in support of each of the following actions is further
articulated in the following pages of this document:
1. The DIIS need to immediately stop the current program of ineffectual, damaging and culturally inappropriate consultation, and work toward a more inclusive program of consultation with relevant Aboriginal parties in accordance with the best practice consultation guidelines of the Commonwealth Government.
2. The DIIS need to cease all activities currently proposed for the NRWMF Aboriginal cultural heritage assessment of the Barndioota project area until adequate consultation has been undertaken with relevant Aboriginal parties; and until such time as suitable cultural and regulatory protocols are developed to protect all investigators, the Aboriginal community and the lands subject to this assessment.
The development of these protocols must be undertaken with the active participation of relevant Aboriginal parties in accordance with the best practice standards identified by the Government of Australia (COFA 2016), and required by the Federal Minister for the Environment for all matters that may be considered under an EPBC referral.
3. The DIIS needs to clearly articulate the statutory nature, intended scope and
proposed sequence of works for the investigation of Aboriginal cultural heritage values for the NRWMF project in Barndioota. All culturally relevant Aboriginal parties need to be actively involved in the development and execution of the intended scope of work for any cultural heritage assessment of our lands and our culture.
4. The DIIS need to officially and publically reprimand the environmental consultancy that has caused harm to our significant cultural area.
5. The DIIS need to prove to us that clear processes are in place to prevent this level of harm from ever reoccurring.
This letter also outlines many of our concerns with the current processes and procedures that are currently being enabled by the DIIS. Ultimately we are prepared to work with the Commonwealth Government to complete the assessment phase of works required for the NRWMF project, but we wish to do this in a culturally and socially appropriate and
responsible manner. If the DIIS continue to act in their disrespectful manner, we ask that you put a stop to their culturally inappropriate actions so that we can begin to concentrate on healing the damage that the DIIS NRWMF project has caused to our community.
This letter seeks to discuss the following key issues:
  • The Commonwealth Government commitment to not harm Aboriginal cultural heritage has failed and requires urgent reparation/damage assessment.
• Aboriginal cultural heritage constraints at the proposed Barndioota project area
cannot be avoided by the NRWMF project.
• Consultation, Relevance and Obligations: How the Department of Industry,
Innovation and Science has repeatedly and categorically failed to meet the
consultation best practice considerations of the Australian Government.
• The environmental assessment process and Aboriginal cultural heritage assessment
context for the Barndioota NRWMF project has not been clearly defined by the
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
I look forward to your detailed response to all of the issues detailed in this letter.
Regina McKenzie
Regina McKenzie Letter to Minister the Hon. Matthew Canavan
The Commonwealth Government Commitment to Not Harm Aboriginal Cultural
In an email to both ATLA and the VYAC (26 August 2016), Bruce Wilson from the DIIS restated the Commonwealth Government’s commitment to protect the full extent of Aboriginal cultural heritage associated with the Barndioota NRWMF project area. Bruce Wilson noted:

June 25, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Senator Rex Patrick questions the government’s big submarine spend-up


Was this much too expensive choice  made because these submarines could easily be converted to nuclear submarines?


Australia’s Future Submarine program could blow out by billions, Senator Rex Patrick warns

This week I revealed in Parliament that the Coalition Government’s choice of the French submarine builder as the preferred partner for the Navy’s Future Submarine will cost taxpayers $30 billion more than the price offered by the unsuccessful German builder.

The Government is refusing to explain the difference in cost.

We’re talking a whopping $30 BILLION. That’s $30 billion that could have been better spent on other defence projects or even health, education and/or infrastructure. I will be pursuing this further.

Here is my question to the Defence Minister this week.

You can also read more here:…/releases/thirty-billion/.

June 25, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Australian top university big-wigs are nuclear industry promoters

South Australia’s academic bigwigs infected with pronuclear delusions.
UniSA Chancellor Jim McDowell is also Chair of the ANSTO Board & ex-CEO of BAE.
AdUni Chancellor is Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce.

University of Adelaide and UniSA in merger talks, InDaily,   Bension Siebert- 19 June 18 The University of Adelaide and UniSA have announced historic talks to merge into a single university which they claim could be immediately placed within the world’s top 100 universities.

The governing councils of both universities have agreed to a six-month “period of collaboration” to negotiate a potential merger, according to a joint statement released by the universities today.

University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen and UniSA Vice-Chancellor David Lloyd will oversee a joint report into the prospective merger, to be delivered by the end of the year.

The university councils will decide on the viability and merits of a merger at that time.

In a joint statement, University of Adelaide Chancellor Kevin Scarce and UniSA Chancellor Jim McDowell say now is the right time to consider joining together as a single university.

“Now is the time to facilitate a conversation about whether uniting our universities would create a new internationally renowned university of scale that would be well placed to anticipate and respond to this changing landscape,” the statement reads……..
Merging the Adelaide University and UniSA was an ambition of former Labor Premier Jay Weatherill in 2015, but universities and both sides of federal politics were opposed to the idea. ……..

However, this morning Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham, Premier Steven Marshall and SA Labor Leader Peter Malinauskas all congratulated the universities on the move. …..

June 25, 2018 Posted by | Education, South Australia | 1 Comment