Australian news, and some related international items

Federal nuclear waste dump siting process is slammed by traditional owners

Traditional owners slam selection process
Kathryn Bermingham, Australian Associated Press, July 6, 2018

A traditional owner of land identified as a possible site for a radioactive waste facility says an Aboriginal consultation process has left her feeling ostracised within her own family.

Regina McKenzie, an owner of Adnyamathanha country in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges, is calling on the government to abandon its “ineffective, inappropriate and incomplete” Aboriginal cultural heritage assessment.

The Senate’s Economics Reference Committee on Friday held a public hearing at Hawker, where Ms McKenzie is a resident, after a similar event on Thursday at Kimba, on the Eyre Peninsula.

Both towns have been earmarked as possible sites for the federal government’s National Radioactive Waste Management Project, which will initially store low and medium-level waste before a second centre is opened for medium-level material.

The Senate inquiry is focusing on the site selection process, which Ms McKenzie says has alienated culturally appropriate people from participation.

“(The process) has caused significant mental health issues within our broader Aboriginal community and continuing lateral violence within our immediate family,” her submission to the committee states. The process has left me feeling ostracised within my own family. I find myself constantly witnessing aggressive, misogynistic and culturally inappropriate behaviour from a select few who have been validated through the process.”

The committee on Friday heard from various community organisations, including the Hawker Community Development Board. In its submission, the group said the government’s benefit program, which provides business and community groups with funding, has given the town a boost. “Consensus among the community is that the community benefit program has assisted in the district getting some needed projects completed that may not otherwise occur,” the submission states. Our small country town that has been dwindling for years has the potential to harness this project and grow into the future.”

July 7, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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