Australian news, and some related international items

Dianne Ashton on Government untrustworthiness – the rushed, unethical decision on nuclear waste site

FACILITY  Submission No 63

Herewith is my submission and reasons for opposing the establishment of a National Radioactive
Waste Management Facility in South Australia.

Having been a part of the Barndioota Consultative Committee for the four years it was operational,
prior to a decision being made by the Government as to the proposed site of a Facility, I questioned
the trustworthiness of the Federal Department (DIIS at the time), the lack of ethics when it came to
Consultation and the reason why South Australia was chosen for a proposed NRWF when, clearly
South Australians are patently against having nuclear waste stored in the state.

South Australians voted against a High Level Nuclear Waste Facility being built in South Australia.
Unfortunately had DIIS been patient until that decision was made, they would have realised that
their hope of the long term Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste (ILW) in a High Level Facility in South
Australia was nothing more than a pipe dream. Unfortunately this decision by South Australians, left
DIIS in the unenviable position of looking for a temporary place to store this highly dangerous waste.
To store ILW temporarily above ground for up to 100 years or more, is not a good decision, which is
now what is intended at the proposed NRWMF.

ll that withstanding, the whole process which was undertaken by DIIS to find the proposed site for
a NRWMF in Australia was flawed in so many ways. If DIIS had actually undertaken the process with
World’s best practice in mind, the outcome may have been very different.

A NRWMF would have been chosen, but only after deep consultation with the neighbours, standing
council and community members of the area. The consultative process would have been a two way
process, information being given from all sides of the situation and then discussed. If there were
divisive issues the aim would have been to build greater connections and understand between
community members, because the notion of “divide and conquer” does not belong in community
engagement. This is not what happened, trust was not built, divide and conquer abounded and
information was the only means forward according to DIIS. Also continuity of engagement would
have been important instead of around 25 staff members leaving the team during the process.
Surveys would be been well thought out and extensively conducted instead of hurried and rushed
with flawed results. DIIS did not do enough to fully engage the community and work with them in an
ethical manner to bring the process to an amenable conclusion. This created mistrust of DIIS and
their process.

If the proposed site at Kimba goes ahead without full scrutiny of the process which put it there, it
will be a sad day for any future proposed facilities, as a wonderful opportunity to all work
collaboratively will have gone missing and will continue to be absent, until there is a new approach
to the process.

Covid 19 is paving the way for change in Australia for the better. The government is called to be
acting on behalf of the people (taxpayers) not on behalf of itself. Let’s hope we can all wake up
before it is too late.

May 23, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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