Australian news, and some related international items

Legal action to follow the shonky National Radioactive Waste Management’s processes?


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

All of the information on which the government has based its proposals for the facility has been completely one-sided and self-serving and without any opposing or contrary research and opinions being presented to the Kimba community.

At no stage has the government provided or suggested any review or assessment of its information by the general community of Kimba especially when its members have asked some awkward questions which were mostly responded to by deflecting information or simply left unanswered.

When it was requested to do so the government neither responded nor provided any financial assistance for an independent assessment and scrutiny of its proposals and the information provided by the government and the District Council to the Kimba community.

This is a most unfair and unsatisfactory situation considering the quantum of substantial grants made by the government to the Kimba and previously Hawker communities in order to obtain their approval for hosting the government’s facility.

To that extent the members of the Kimba community opposing the government’s proposals have been deprived of properly and fully testing the validity of the information given by the government as in many instances it lacked credibility and caused grave concern within the Kimba community.

All of this flies completely in the face of the facts and the implications of human rights described in the explanatory memorandum especially as the members of the Kimba community were deprived of the full benefits of those rights and their consequences.

The Kimba District Council has held two ballots to gauge the community support for
proposed facility with the later being in October 2019.
The results of that ballot were:
Voting papers issued 824
Formal votes accepted 735
Yes vote 452
No vote 283
Informal (no vote) 89

The government decided that the result is the percentage of yes votes of the total formal votes accepted and this is 61.5% in favour. However if the informal 89 votes were rightly included then the result is 54.8% in favour.

The voting base for this ballot was relatively limited as explained in the Federal Court decision dismissing the Barngarla appeal and even excluding the Barngarla many people within the Kimba region who should have been given a vote were not included The irony is that there were residents of the Kimba area who were denied a right to
vote yet they lived closer to the town than some of the eligible voters.

A previous community ballot was held at Kimba in June 2017 with people in the District being encouraged to participate in voting. While it was claimed that this ballot achieved voting of 57.4% in favour and 42.6% against on a total of 691 votes accepted the result in favour dropped to slightly less as they were not resident ratepayers which was the necessary qualification prescribed for the voting.than 50% based on the total of 793 voting papers issued.


For a proper and fair ballot vote the Kimba District Council which arranged the ballot should have provided the voters with full written explanations accompanying the voting papers as to both sides of the question to be decided by the ballot so as to enable the intending voters to make a fully considered and informed decision. This has not been done and therefore makes the result highly suspect and unreliable.

Most importantly all the information regarding every aspect of the facility has been provided solely by the government and has been completely one-sided without any information to the contrary or at least a proper scrutiny of the government’s proposals.

Still on the issue of informed consent the government has never enabled or offered the members of the Kimba community who oppose the facility to obtain their own independent advice and assessment of the government’s proposals or to provide funds to meet the costs involved.

This has become extremely important as some of the information given by or on behalf of the government or the District Council of Kimba as proponents of the facility has been misleading or plainly wrong.

It is a well established legal principle that the Kimba District Council owes a duty of care to its community in providing proper and full information on any important issue such as the proposal to establish the facility but the Council has quite clearly failed tosatisfy that duty at law.

Leaving aside any legal rights and remedies available to the Kimba community in that regard the most pragmatic and practical solution would be for the government to pay for a full and proper independent assessment and critical analysis of the whole situation for or on behalf of the members of the community opposing or questioning
the government’s proposals.

This could then be followed by a much wider based ballot which would include explanations of the for and against cases in full so that a properly informed decision can be made by the intending voters. In the overall situation this is probably the most important factor having regard to the mainly disingenuous or at least misleading information from the government over the past four years.

This becomes even more relevant having regard to the numerous requests for information which have never been satisfied by the government in any of its guises and to that extent the community of Kimba were deprived of their full rights described in the explanatory memorandum.

It would seem that in all the circumstances the members of the Kimba community opposing the facility (should they feel so inclined) would have a right of action against the District Council and probably the federal government on the issues of failing to provide full and proper information and holding a fair and more extended ballot based on that information.

It could readily be argued by the Kimba community members who feel aggrieved by the actions of the District Council and the government that the voting rights should be extended to a much broader area and include persons who are not necessarily on the ratepayers’ roll but still have a close affinity to Kimba. For example there are apparently instances of community members who are not on the roll but are much closer to the Kimba township than some of the persons entered on the roll.

May 26, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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