Australian news, and some related international items

Community of small rural town Kimba “blown apart” by nuclear waste dump plan

The Australian town divided over hosting the country’s first nuclear waste dump, The small South Australian farming town of Kimba is split in two by the proposal to host Australia’s first permanent nuclear waste facility. Here, SBS News meets residents on both sides of the debate.

SBS NEWS, BY JARNI BLAKKARLY  10 DEC 19, Janet Tiller and her friend Cheryl Miller have recently made one of the hardest decisions of their lives.They both grew up and have lived most of their lives in the small wheat farming community of Kimba, at the top of the South Australian Eyre Peninsula, with a population of around 800 people.

The women, who both live with their families on farms, have come to the decision that it is time to move on.

“Kimba just isn’t what it was,” 55-year-old Ms Tiller tells SBS News.

“It used to be such a close-knit community, but it’s blown apart.”

Ms Miller says the debate over the proposal for Kimba to host Australia’s first permanent nuclear waste facility has led to so much community division that some people no longer talk to each other.

“It’s not a nice place to live, you don’t want to go down the street because there are people that shun you and won’t talk to you,” Ms Miller says.

“The whole atmosphere is just really depressing”.

For four years, this small town on the edge of the Australian outback has been at the centre of debate, consultation and planning as a potential site to host the facility.

After promises of 45 ongoing full-time jobs and more than $30 million in federal government money earmarked to flow into town projects if the proposal goes ahead, the community last month voted on whether or not to host the site.

Sixty-two per cent of Kimba residents backed the site going ahead in the ballot run by the Australian Electoral Commission, and 38 per cent voted against it.

The public vote was a key final hurdle to indicate community support for the plan and federal resources minister Matt Canavan is expected to make a decision on which site will host the dump in early 2020.

There are three sites that remain on the shortlist, two near Kimba and the other further north near Hawker, in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges region.

Support for the facility

Grain and livestock farmer Geoff Baldock is a third-generation farmer in the Kimba region. He and his family farm more than 700 hectares of land here and he is preparing to sell off a small slice of that, around two per cent, to the federal government for them to build their nuclear waste facility.

He won’t reveal exactly how much the government is offering to pay for his land but says the offer has been “generous”…..

He hopes the proposal will go ahead and play a vital role in securing the future of the Kimba town, which has been in economic and population decline for a number of years.  ……

Opponents of the proposal are deeply distrustful of the federal government and the promises made by politicians and scientists on government-paid salaries. They want independent scientists brought in to the safety assessments of the site.   ……

The public vote in the town of Hawker closes on December 12 and the government will make a decision on which site will go ahead with the plan early next year.

But for friends Ms Tiller and Ms Miller it is too late. Their properties are on the market and both families are planning to move elsewhere in South Australia as soon as they can. HTTPS://WWW.SBS.COM.AU/NEWS/THE-AUSTRALIAN-TOWN-DIVIDED-OVER-HOSTING-THE-COUNTRY-S-FIRST-NUCLEAR-WASTE-DUMP?CX_CID=EDM%3ANEWSAM%3A2019&FBCLID=IWAR2B19ZUOG9WHGBO9CVSO_81AOYNXY0R4AFZAJFJW4EJWKMW_N6_B2M01WQ

December 10, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: