Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Andrew Baldock (offered his land for nuclear waste dump) dismisses objections to the plan

Andrew Baldock  Submission to Senate Standing Committees on Economics Re – Proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (Submission no. 38)

I am a 4th generation farmer in the Kimba District with all 4 of my grandparents being from pioneering farming families of the district. I farm with my wife Dale and soon to be 4 children as well as my brother and his wife and children, my sister and her husband and children, along with our parents.

Our family has been involved in this process from the outset with our family nominating a parcel of land in the initial round of applications which failed to progress to the technical assessment stage due to a lack of neighbouring support. We have since offered up a number of parcels of land to the community renomination process of which one site “Napandee” was put forward to support the community in re-entering the NRWMF assessment process as a result of strong community and neighbouring support.

I am pleased to be able to provide information to the inquiry on the appropriateness and thoroughness of the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) site selection process in Kimba SA. I give my permission for this submission to be made public and would be available to speak with the Senate committee to answer any further questions on the Kimba process with particular reference to:

a) the financial compensation offered to applicants for the acquisition of land under the Nominations of Land Guidelines;

The financial compensation being offered to applicants is a one-off land purchase at 4 times the market rate for a 100ha parcel of land. I see this as being very fair and equitable and very much in line with any agricultural land sales for alternative use such as residential or industrial developments.

As nominated landholders we understand the site will be positioned on the most suitable 100ha portion of the nominated land holding. This is likely to have a considerable impact on the efficiencies of our farming operations and as a result quickly eroding any economic gain from the land sale.

This level of financial compensation is unlikely to be a driving factor for any nominating landholder especially in low value landholdings such as Kimba and Hawker. The 100ha site nominated equates to less than 1.4% of our farm operation, the sale of this land makes very little difference to our financial position. We see the siting of this facility in the district making a huge difference to the host community.

b) how the need for ‘broad community support’ has played and will continue to play a part in the process, including: i) the definition of ‘broad community support’, and ii) how ‘broad community support’ has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage;

I can only speak for the process in the Kimba community of which the community has been at the heart of the discussion from the very start of this process.

The idea of the community putting nominations forward for consideration come about as a result of a community consultation meeting held by local MP for Grey, Rowan Ramsey, who at the time was considering nominating his own farm. Our family attended this meeting which resulted in an overwhelming majority of attendees supporting local nominations into the process to give the community the opportunity to investigate the proposal further.

As a result of this early support for the concept a number of nominations were put forward by local landholders with two of those making the shortlist enabling the community to enter the initial community consultation process. This consultation provided a high level of community engagement with many opportunities for all interested parties to have their say. An extensive phone poll survey was also undertaken which showed a majority support to progress to the technical assessment stage across the district; however neighbouring support was low for the two nominated sites and as a result neither nomination progressed.

Following this decision there was a high level of disappointment amongst community members and as a result of community discussion a local community group investigated alternate sites within the community which would be suitable for renomination. There were a number of sites which were made publicly known about the possibility of nomination including engagement with neighbouring landholders and the local council. As a result, two sites “Napandee” and “Lyndhurst” were put forward for consideration to nominate to enter the NRWMF assessment process.

Once nominations were lodged for these properties the community was fortunate to have further community consultation and opportunities to express their views on the possibility of the Minister accepting these nominations into the technical assessment stage. This culminated in the council facilitating a very unique Electoral Commission vote resulting in an overwhelming majority of 57.4% support in progressing the nominations.

This level of broad community support as well as consideration of the views of neighbouring landholders, council engagement, views of interested individuals and groups not included in the voting region resulted in the minister being satisfied there is adequate support to warrant the nominations to progress to the technical assessment stage.

The local community as well as the broader community has opportunities to express their views on the proposal by means of community engagement and submissions on the proposal as the process runs and the local community has been assured another vote will be undertaken prior to the minister making a decision as to whether either site will progress to the licence application phase.

I believe that broad community support has been displayed throughout the process. There are many views that need to be considered with various weighting when considering the definition of broad community support. In theory anything over 50% should be considered as broad community. But when considering the views of those outside the district boundaries, the added weight of the neighbouring views etc. I think it needs to be left to the minister’s discretion as to what determines “broad community support” as there are to many variables to attempt to impose a mandated figure.

What has become very clear to me throughout this process is that no matter how well consulted, how robust the science is or how clear the consent from the local community is, the well established anti-nuclear movement will attack the process from another angle with no accountability for their claims.

Broad support can be shown in Kimba.  The District Council of Kimba has actively participated in the process and has openly supported the process through to phase 2. As requested by the people in Kimba they arranged an Australian Electoral Commission vote for registered voters in the Kimba electorate so that it was fair to all. They also invited other people who were not on the Kimba electoral role but had a vested interest in Kimba to apply for a vote.

 As per the NRWMF guidelines, direct neighbours support was very important. Of the two sites in Kimba there is 90% ‘direct neighbour’ support.

 An Electoral Commission vote held in June 2017, returned a clear majority 57.4% support in favour for Kimba moving to Phase 2 (the consultation stage) of the project. I have seen many indications that support has been maintained since that time.

  1. whether and/or how the Government’s ‘community benefit program’ payments affect broad community and Indigenous community sentiment;I believe the community benefit program is a fair way of compensating the community for the disruption the nomination process has caused the community. This fairly modest level of community funding will ensure the nominated communities will have some lasting legacy projects for the good of the community, whether they host the project or not. Allowing for positive outcomes for communities having undertaken this process.

This level of funding is certainly not likely to influence people to support the project alone, the safety and integration of the facility along with the opportunities the siting of the facility presents, are the driving factors in people’s decision making

. d) whether wider (Eyre Peninsula or state-wide) community views should be taken into consideration and, if so, how this is occurring or should be occurring;

I firmly believe that the main driving factor of any decision should be based on the outcome of a Kimba District Council boundary vote with extra consideration given to the sentiments of the immediate surrounding landholders.

This is the community which will be impacted by the siting of the facility and this is the community who has been thoroughly consulted on the facility. Those outside of the council boundary have had and should continue to have the opportunity to voice their opinions through means of consultation meetings with DISS as well as written correspondence. But to open the vote up beyond the council boundary would set a difficult precedence for any future development processes across the country.

It is very clear from the project brief and the science presented that this project will have no impact outside of the walls of the proposed facility apart from the economic and social benefit as a result of the construction works and ongoing employment and economic support.

a) any other related matters

I welcome the senate inquiry into this process as I hope it will provide assurity to all involved that the department and the minister’s office have gone above and beyond in their requirements to provide communities with information regarding the project and opportunities to voice their opinions regarding the proposal.

I can not imagine many other projects, government or privately run would have had the level of community engagement this has had. We have had a number of community votes so far including a full electoral commission vote just to consult as to weather the community is willing to discuss the project further. The process that has been run to date has been as thorough as I could imagine.

The reality is that you could run the process a hundred different ways and it will always be attacked by those opposed as a means to create division and distrust. I have the upmost confidence in the process that has been set out to measure community support.

I look forward to the findings on the enquiry

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July 9, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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