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Nuclear waste: residents near proposed dump told to sign draconian code of conduct,

Nuclear waste: residents near proposed dump told to sign draconian code of conduct,  

Code bans residents from taking notes or recording any part of meetings without prior agreement, Calla Wahlquist  @callapilla 8 Aug 2019 Residents in small South Australian communities shortlisted for a proposed nuclear waste storage facility have been told if they want to attend community consultation meetings they have to sign a code of conduct that bans them from taking notes.

The shortlist for the proposed dump has been narrowed down to Lyndhurst or Napandee, in the Kimba shire area on the Eyre Peninsula, and Wallerberdina Station, which is near Barndioota in the southern Flinders Ranges.

If approved, it would be a permanent storage facility for low-level nuclear waste and provide temporary storage for intermediate level waste, including waste temporarily stored near the research reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney.

The process has been stalled for more than 12 months because of a federal court challenge by Barngarla traditional owners, who hold native title over land adjacent to the two proposed Eyre Peninsula sites.

Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation last month lost a federal court case arguing that a decision not to include native title holders in a local government poll gauging community support for the dump was in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act, but have appealed that decision to the full court.

A majority of Adnyamathanha traditional owners have also said they’re “totally opposed” to the facility being built at Barndioota.

Meetings of two local consultative committees, appointed by the federal industry department’s National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce (NRWMFT) as its main platform for ongoing community consultation, were put on hold while the court case was underway but have been scheduled to resume next week.

But locals have complained that a new code of conduct for people wishing to observe the Barndioota and Kimba consultative committee meetings is unnecessarily restrictive and makes it harder for the community to obtain up-to-date information and voice their concerns.

The code, seen by Guardian Australia, states that “observers” must be approved and cannot “take any notes, or record any part of the meeting … except with the prior agreement of the department, the independent convenor and all representative members of the committee”.

It also says they cannot “repeat or share the individual ideas or views of [committee] members,” and can’t repeat confidential information or try to interject in committee discussions.

“This agreement does not prevent you from discussing information shared during a BCC meeting unless it has been identified as confidential or sensitive,” it says. “The [convenor] may ask you to leave the meeting if you do not comply with this Code of Conduct.”

Farmer Dean Hooper, who has applied to attend the Barndioota meeting, said that restrictions on repeating confidential information and behaving respectfully were reasonable but other conditions placed on attending were “bullshit”.

“They are trying to keep it low and quiet and get this dump to happen as easily and quickly and quietly as possible,” he said.

Hooper opposes the dump and is a member of the Flinders local action group.

The NRWMFT said that the code of conduct concerned behavioural standards and that information in the meeting was not confidential, unless stated otherwise, and that the minutes of all meetings had been published online.

Committee members have also been restricted from discussing meetings with the media. Susan Andersson, a GP from Hawker who sits on the Bandioota committee, said the contract extension that committee members signed in March was “more restrictive” than the original contract and represented an apparent desire by the department to control public information.

NRWMFT general manager Sam Chard said the facility “will only proceed near a community that broadly supports it and which could provide an ongoing workforce”.

In a statement on Wednesday, she said that ballots of residents and ratepayers, like that attempted by Kimba before the federal court challenge, “remain one method that we intend to use to help inform if that necessary broad community support exists”.

People living outside the local government areas can make a submission.

August 8, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, Federal nuclear waste dump

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