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Peter Remta: Misleading and inaccurate information provided by authorities on National Radioactive Waste Management


Peter Remta  – submission to Senate Committee on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020   [Provisions] Submission 65

“………. EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM The explanatory memorandum accompanying the Bill simply repeats many of the
inaccurate and misleading comments and information provided by the Department of Industry Innovation and Science and ANSTO  to the communities of the initially accepted sites in South Australia since the beginning of the nomination process under the existing legislation.

………I must stress that the serious and unacceptable manner in which quite inaccurate information has been disseminated on behalf of the government on such an important issue both now and during the nomination and selection process has only caused more concern and community dissension and I suggest will lead to a greater general apprehension of starting a nuclear industry in Australia

Explanatory memorandum assertions :
1. While the concept of a single and purpose-built nuclear waste facility is a desired objective as outlined at the start of the explanatory memorandum it will be difficult to achieve as is now proposed.

To begin with it is wrong to say that this facility will support nuclear science and technology since it fails to meet the safety prescriptions for a facility of that nature.

It is also wrong to link the provision of nuclear medicine to the proposed storage and disposal of waste at the facility as the various entities generating waste from medical and research activities will continue relying on their own disposal methods and will not necessarily use a government run business for that purpose.

2. Most importantly it is a totally false and misleading proposition to suggest that the failure to establish the facility as proposed by the government will somehow lead to a reduction in nuclear medical services and treatment and the government should quickly correct that serious misconception since this has been a rather distressing concern for the community at Kimba and generally. It is therefore disingenuous to give that impression that this will be a central
facility for all nuclear waste in Australia.

3. While existing waste is held in numerous locations around the country there is no legal or other requirement that this waste would be disposed of at the facility and it is therefore disingenuous to give the impression that this will
be a central facility for all waste in Australia.

4. The reference to meeting with the international obligations under the Joint Convention4 ignores the safety code requirements promulgated some 12 years later under which it would be very difficult to establish the proposed

5. The suggestion of acquiring additional land for such things as all weather road access is only another example of the intrinsically unsuitable nature of the chosen site and the lack of planning and the necessary technical knowledge for construction of the facility.

6. The process of identifying a suitable location being a 40 year effort again shows the inability of the government or simply ignores that the current process in a proper manner only began after 2012 under the existing legislation.

7. To suggest proper and successful consultations with community members is a test of normal intelligence having regard to the strong and spirited opposition to the facility from the outset by the community generally and the fact that a concerned Aboriginal group has litigated its opposition to an appeal to the Federal Court5 and may now resort to a referral to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

8. The financial aspects of the government’s proposals lack frankness and justification when it has been claimed variously that the amount so far spent in selecting the site is $55 million or $85 million over the past five years but with a constant refusal to provide any details as to how that money has been spent or applied.

Surely there should be proper public disclosure of this quantum of expenditure when compared to the usual outcry where there is only a fraction of that amount involved if there is no reasonable explanation given. Moreover this should be gauged against the persistent refusal of the government to pay for an independent assessment and scrutiny of its
proposals by the members of the Kimba community who oppose the facility.

9. The statement as to compatibility with human rights is again with respect rather nonsensical when the government was incapable of holding a proper and valid ballot (albeit through the District Council of Kimba) which totally ignored the inclusion of an opposing argument contrary to the recognised and applicable principles of human rights. That ballot and the previous one as well as some claimed community surveys failed to meet the principles of informed consent which places a high standard of compliance on both the government and the District Council.

This becomes even worse by excluding the Aboriginal peoples from the ballotIf the government were genuine then it should hold another ballot with a more appropriate and wider base for voting and with the prior provision of all pertinent
information including the arguments or case against the facility. This goes back to providing a proper assessment and scrutiny of the government’s proposals by the opposing members of the Kimba community which has never been
the case.

Regrettably the compatibility statement is more prescriptive in its content instead of actually dealing with the facts of the situation and circumstances that occurred and which have been presented in the statement in a most favourable light for the government. when under the most basic of constitutional and democratic rights they
should have been included in that process…………


The content of this submission has more than adequately described the inappropriate
nature and features of Napandee as the chosen site for the government’s national
nuclear waste management facility which will in reality be most difficult to overcome.

This relates purely to the physical nature of the site and its location and has nothing
to do with the political and constitutional aspects of the inquiry into the Bill.

In addition there are the social and legal aspects of the choice of Napandee which in
themselves create significant problems that will not be easily solved despite the
claims by the government.
In light of this it is inexplicable why the government through the Department and
ANSTO has ignored the potential underground facility at Leonora in Western
Australia which does not have any of these problems and is in fact regarded by all
standards and requirements as one of the best sites internationally for the permanent
disposal of nuclear waste.

IT IS RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED that the Committee in accordance with the
referral to it by the Senate on 28 February 2020 and based on the information in this
submission should:

(a) advise against the passing of the National Radioactive Waste Management
Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020
and recommend its withdrawal from the government’s legislative programme;

(b) advise the withdrawal and further pursuit of Napandee as the site chosen for the
establishment of the national radioactive waste management facility as
contemplated under the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012;

(c) if so required by the circumstances recommend to the government that it does
everything possible to enable the community of Kimba (or at least those opposed
to the establishment of the facility) to obtain a full and comprehensive attitude towards the establishment of the facility with the ballot to include as potential voters all residents and others having an affinity to Kimba whether
residents or ratepayers or otherwise;

(d) if also required by the circumstances recommend to the government that it and
the District Council of Kimba hold another ballot to gauge the community’s

attitude towards the establishment of the facility with the ballot to include as
potential voters all residents and others having an affinity to Kimba whether
residents or ratepayers or otherwise

(e) recommend that the government and any other parties involved with arranging
and conducting the ballot present to the eligible voters prior to their voting with full
and proper information in favour of and against the issues and questions to be
decided by the ballot so as to comply with the principle of informed consent of the
voters for the validity of the ballot; and

(f) provide to the government and the responsible minister any other appropriate or
relevant information and advice resulting from the referred inquiry.
assessment and scrutiny of all aspects of the government’s proposals for the
facility to be at the cost and completely independent of the government;



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

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