Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

It is left to rural South Australians to oppose the misguided national plan for nuclear waste dumping

Dump opponents meet on ‘country in between’  https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article/dump-opponents-meet-on–country-in-between Michele Madigan, 02 May 2019

We are the joy, the sadness, the anger and the peace.’ With these moving words, Adnyamathanha Elders Aunty Enice Marsh and Geraldine Anderson opened a significant gathering in Port Augusta last month. People from the Flinders Ranges and the Kimba farming region, still threatened by the federal government’s plans to deposit the nation’s radioactive waste, met again ‘on the country in between’.

For some months now, no further government decisions have been taken — or at least not conveyed — as to the preferred final site for the nation’s long-lived intermediate and low-level nuclear waste.
On 18 December, following the Barngala people’s similar move in August against the Kimba Council, the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) of the Flinders Ranges took to court the local council’s ruling to exclude non-resident Traditional Owners from a community ballot on the matter. Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, representing ATLA pro bono, see the situation as a justice issue. The 30 January decision deadline has come and gone.

Peter Woolford is the chairperson of the aptly named ‘It Goes Against the Grain’ group of farmers and townspeople of the Kimba region who oppose the dump and its threat to their international grain markets. From his long interview for the 7.30 Report on 28 March, only a few brief words survived the final cut, but he was pleased it was his main point: ‘We’re not activists — I’m a third generation farmer.’

His report to the Port Augusta gathering spoke of much activity, notably that the anti-dump farmers’ stand at the Cleve Field Days had attracted 1000 petitions. Meanwhile, farmer colleague Tom Harris, now on the Kimba Council, provides ‘some balance’ to the otherwise pro-dump farmers/townspeople councillors.

Originally bound to the Flinders by the tragic loss of his ten year old brother there in 1959, Greg Bannon, chairperson of FLAG (Flinders Local Action Group), paid tribute to the Adnyamathanha: ‘Support from the TOs in community from the start has been great and inspiring and has given strength to the rest of us who have no home but here.’ FLAG’s many activities include writing letters, making submissions, media appearances, presenting to the local council, and more.
Meanwhile the mental anguish of community conflict and concern — either for country or from the cash benefits promised by government — continues within both communities. The 7.30 Report highlighted this, with people on both (mainly pro) sides of the issue given voice. As Woolford wondered aloud to us in Port Augusta: ‘How is our town to heal, whichever way the decision goes?’

How can serious environmental matters in South Australia become as important in the national consciousness as those in the eastern states?”

Also in April, Friends of the Earth associates, Mara Bonacci and Dr Jim Green, travelled to Port Pirie, Port Augusta, Whyalla and Port Lincoln to meet with councils, election candidates for the Division of Grey, trade unions and Traditional Owners. Months after independent environmental expert David Noonan’s careful study of government documents revealed the ports named to possibly receive the nuclear waste, local people including council members of proposed port towns, still had no idea of this reality.

Younger members of the areas affected are speaking out. Adnyamathanha Candace Champion is standing for the Greens in the coming election. The Kimba young people are asking why they have been given no voice. As Adnyamathanha law student Dwayne Coulthard declares: ‘South Australia is being smashed right now — UCG [Underground Coal Gasification], the Bight and the Nuclear Waste Dump. How do we make this a reality for people?’

Good question! How can serious environmental matters in South Australia become as important in the national consciousness as those in the eastern states? Australia’s intermediate nuclear waste will be dangerous for 10,000 years. As Mara Bonacci explains, ‘It’s Australia’s waste, it’s a national issue, the burden of responsibility shouldn’t fall on two small regional communities.’

The SA Catholic Church recently suffered a great loss at the sudden passing of a key priest, Denis Edwards. Author of many internationally known books on a Christian response to the ecological crisis, Edwards had no hesitation in becoming a No Dump Alliance member: ‘I believe we are called by God to love and to respect this land as a gift, and to protect its integrity for future generations.’Good question! How can serious environmental matters in South Australia become as important in the national consciousness as those in the eastern states? Australia’s intermediate nuclear waste will be dangerous for 10,000 years. As Mara Bonacci explains, ‘It’s Australia’s waste, it’s a national issue, the burden of responsibility shouldn’t fall on two small regional communities.’

The SA Catholic Church recently suffered a great loss at the sudden passing of a key priest, Denis Edwards. Author of many internationally known books on a Christian response to the ecological crisis, Edwards had no hesitation in becoming a No Dump Alliance member: ‘I believe we are called by God to love and to respect this land as a gift, and to protect its integrity for future generations.’Good question! How can serious environmental matters in South Australia become as important in the national consciousness as those in the eastern states? Australia’s intermediate nuclear waste will be dangerous for 10,000 years. As Mara Bonacci explains, ‘It’s Australia’s waste, it’s a national issue, the burden of responsibility shouldn’t fall on two small regional communities.’

The SA Catholic Church recently suffered a great loss at the sudden passing of a key priest, Denis Edwards. Author of many internationally known books on a Christian response to the ecological crisis, Edwards had no hesitation in becoming a No Dump Alliance member: ‘I believe we are called by God to love and to respect this land as a gift, and to protect its integrity for future generations.’

No Dump Alliance is a broad grouping from the SA community, Aboriginal and agricultural representatives. On 29 April, the third anniversary of the day the federal government named Wallerbina, Flinders Ranges as the preferred site, the Alliance called for the scrapping of the present site selection process and the establishment of an independent inquiry to thoroughly explore all the scientifically safe options for management.

The next day, members presented hundreds of petitions to this end to federal member Rowan Ramsey. As Peter Woolford said, ‘Our homes, our communities, our jobs are at risk from this unpopular and unnecessary plan.’

Concerned Australians can offer solidarity by making an online submission here or by writing their own.

Michele Madigan is a Sister of St Joseph who has spent the past 38 years working with Aboriginal people in remote areas of SA, in Adelaide and in country SA. Her work has included advocacy and support for senior Aboriginal women of Coober Pedy in their campaign against the proposed national radioactive dump.

May 4, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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