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Kerri Cliff shows a touching faith in Rowan Ramsey and the whole ANSTO pro nuclear propaganda

Kerri and Trevor Cliff Submission to Senate Inquiry re Selection Process  for Nuclear Waste Dump Site. (Submission No. 65)  I have lived in Kimba for the past 34 years as part of a family that has farmed in the district for 100 years and am proud to see our children continuing that tradition into the fourth generation. I live on our family farm which is currently cropping over 4,000 hectares annually, with my husband, son and full-time and part-time employees. We are fortunate to still have his parents take an avid interest in our business (and this issue) in their declining years. Our home is only 8km from one of the two Kimba sites and we also farm land within 12 kilometres of the other site. We have nothing but support for the proposal that one of these properties may become the successful host of the facility.

We are passionate about our community and are involved with a number of community organisations and are pleased to hereby submit 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.

The appropriateness and thoroughness of the site selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility at Kimba and Hawker in South Australia, noting the Government has stated that it will not impose such a facility on an unwilling community, with particular reference to:

We are very proud to see the Kimba community embracing the challenge of participating in the site selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility. I acknowledge that there are people in our community who do not want to see the facility developed in Kimba. We applaud the process for giving everyone in the community the opportunity to have their say with a vote to that end before a suitable site is chosen.

 Various Federal Governments have been trying to find a suitable location for managing Australia’s radioactive waste to the international standard for the past 30 years. However, this particular effort has engaged directly with individuals and their communities that are willing to at least progress through the process to establish community support (or not), beginning with the nominations of the sites themselves being completely voluntary.

 We were first made aware of the project when our local Federal Member for Grey Mr Rowan Ramsey advertised a public information session. Although interested, we had a prior commitment that evening and chose not to attend as we had no major concerns with the idea of hosting a Radioactive Waste facility in our area. In particular, we trusted that Mr Ramsey had already done his own research on the proposal and would not be bringing the idea to the community if he thought it would be in any way detrimental to the people or businesses here.

On hearing of the first two nominations we were excited to see Kimba people voluntarily putting their hand up but disappointed to hear of the reactions and behaviour of some people. Sadly, that included some bullying and aggression towards the two families. We felt this intimidated many people who would have perhaps been otherwise interested in finding out more information for themselves. We sense this situation has eased somewhat, however believe some people in our community are still somewhat reluctant to publicly share their views about the project. Those decisions, to respond in a bullying way, are personal decisions. They reflect individual decisions, they don’t reflect this process or our community.

 Following on from this, I was extremely disappointed that at least one of the two Kimba sites initially nominated did not make it through to the next phase and Hawker was the only site to progress. However, having heard the Minister at the time of making that announcement say he was still open to further nominations I felt there was hope for us to proceed further. I felt strongly that Kimba was missing out on an opportunity to introduce a new industry that brought jobs and security and was completely unrelated to agriculture. From here, I found other people who had similar views and we proceeded to contribute what we could in a non-threatening manner, towards informing people of our community what the project was about, seeking other interested parties to offer land and engaging with the process to get the two current nominations back on the Minister’s table.

I am proud to have taken the time to inform myself, my family and where possible my community – on the process, project and the potential for Kimba’s benefit to participating – through my involvement with the Working for Kimba’s Future Group

Although the process has been challenging for our communities, I strongly believe the free access to information from the Department, numerous experts (both from ANSTO and independent) and guest speakers gave the people of Kimba confidence to vote in favour (57.4%, with 80% of the vote returned) of seeking more information by continuing in the process.

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

 I don’t believe the compensation offered to landowner applicants is at all significant, nor do I believe it was a strong reason for them to offer land for consideration. 100ha is a very small parcel of land in the broad acre scheme of farming in the Kimba District. If that land was continued as farmland the landowner would directly benefit, however this would be a very small part of the landowner’s overall program.

As a National Radioactive Waste Facility, this small parcel of land would, over a very short space of time, be vastly more productive and economically viable given the jobs associated with the facility and its construction for the community, than its entire lifetime in agricultural production (for the landowner). The overall benefit to the community far outweighs the small recompense offered to the landowners. I believe that greater benefit is the reason they have put forward their land in the Kimba area.

  1. 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’,

I believe the definition of broad community support must recognise the fact that as with any controversial major project, there needs to be allowance for shifts in public opinion. As we live in a democratic society, the very act of allowing our community to vote is a very true reflection of democracy. The 57.4% majority yes vote with about 80% eligible voter participation in Kimba reflected a vibrant and informed community. I firmly believe that support for the project has been at the very least maintained. I am confident that due to the high-quality information being presented to the community and the terrific access we have had to information, that support will be increased over time.

 I believe the use of the term broad community support was the most appropriate in this project instance as the communities engaging in the process are all vastly different in makeup. In the democratic place we live, anything over 50% is considered a majority significant enough to elect governments. I believe a definitive number % would not allow the Minister to take into account a diverse range of contributing factors such as the support of neighbours to the facility etc. It is simply not a black and white issue and we elect our government representatives to make informed decisions based on all of the presented information.

and ii) how ‘broad community support’ has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage;

Our local District Council received many deputations, letters and direct conversations with councillors and from there chose a vote of people within the council boundaries as being the fairest way of determining community support. I support their choice of a vote which was conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission. Although some felt they ‘missed out’ there was also an option for people who had a vested interest (e.g. business) in Kimba to register for 1 vote that was publicised to the wider community.

  1. c)how any need for Indigenous support has played and will continue to play a part in the process, including how Indigenous support has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage;

 I believe it is important for the Indigenous community to play a part in the site selection process. Although the Indigenous population differs greatly between Kimba and Hawker, I believe there has been fair opportunity for their input to the process, as there has with all residents of the two communities. I hope this continues.

  1. d)whether and/or how the Government’s ‘community benefit program’ payments affect broad community and Indigenous community sentiment;

 I feel this program is a fair and just contribution to the communities who have been committed to going through the process, whatever the final outcome. We need to reflect that this process has been underway for 30+ years, has a direct impact on community and is a project of national and long-term significance. I don’t believe that people’s opinions on hosting the facility, for the most part, will be changed given the payments made from the community benefit fund (yet to be allocated in Kimba). People voted to continue the discussion for the long-term benefit of jobs and attracting new people and industry to the Kimba community.

  1. e)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 strongly believe that only the communities potentially hosting the facility should have direct input to the process. I have found by talking to many people outside of my community, that they are not necessarily aware of the project, don’t have the information (although freely available to them) and have nothing but support for the project. I am aware that a strong ‘fear’ campaign has created confusion about the actual project both within our community and outside. I believe the communities directly involved should be the one’s making the choice to host the facility or not and feel that without an extremely long and intensive education program, outside communities (both Eyre Peninsula and South Australia) will not be well informed enough to warrant a valid contribution to the discussion. We don’t get to have a say on most major developments such as mines etc that are not within our local boundaries and I don’t see this project as any different.

July 11, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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