Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Bill – a drastic attack on Aboriginal rights, heritage and environment

This inquiry if successful will enable Native Title to be extinguished, whether it is admitted or not.
3 Section 4 (a) seeks to repeal the definition of Aboriginal land,
9 Section 4 (b) seeks to repeal the definition of traditional Aboriginal owners

34 GA (1) (c) seeks to override the archaeological and heritage values of the land, the significance of the
land in the traditions of the Indigenous owners, by overriding existing state and territory legal protections.

34 GB (1) (a) seeks to override the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984.

34 GB (b) seeks to override the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Stephanie Ingerson  to Sente Committee on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions] Submission 28 

South Australia’s north-west desert lands were laid waste by nuclear tests conducted by the British in the
1950s and 1960s at Maralinga on the country of Aboriginal traditional owners. Despite this existing nuclear wasteland, more lands belonging to traditional owners near Kimba on Eyre Peninsula are destined for more nuclear waste. Ninety per cent of the waste will be transported from the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney, overland and around the coastline of New South Wales, posing a potential risk for humans and the environment given the history of radioactive spills and accidents at the Lucas Heights reactor site. The waste will not just be gloves and gowns. The government does not talk about spent nuclear fuel rods and other hazardous radioactive high level waste, active for thousands of years,that may be destined for a radioactive waste site on Eyre Peninsula.

The Barngarla Aboriginal people have their traditional lands on Eyre Peninsula. They did not give their consent for a radioactive waste site, having been excluded from voting in a restricted ballot in Kimba conducted to secure the land for this purpose.

The Barngarla traditional owners are unanimous in not
wanting nuclear waste on their lands, consequently the vote is skewed. In their own poll, the Barngarla
people returned a result of 100% against the waste facility. The vote combined from these two polls falls
to only 43.8% in favour of a waste facility. Further, Stock Journal conducted a poll at the time of the Kimba
ballot, returning a vote of 967 votes (71.9%) against, 378 votes (28.1%) for a waste facility. The
government has set a benchmark of 65% as “broad community support”, well below the vote result that
includes the Barngarla people, making the decision a contradiction in the government’s own terms.

A decision concerning storage of nuclear waste anywhere in Australia should not have been forced upon
one local community. The Kimba ballot has split apart the people of Kimba and those in surrounding
areas. Friends, families are conflicted, having been played off by money offered as an inducement which
amounts to bribery. To call it anything else is playing with words……..

This inquiry if successful will enable Native Title to be extinguished, whether it is admitted or not.
3 Section 4 (a) seeks to repeal the definition of Aboriginal land,
9 Section 4 (b) seeks to repeal the definition of traditional Aboriginal owners

The definition of Aboriginal land and the definition of traditional Aboriginal owners are inseparable and
mutually interdependent. Effective sovereignty and cultural heritage for the Barngarla community means
the right of veto over their land, this being inherently part of the meaning of Native Title.

On the 27th of June, 2018, the Barngarla people of Eyre Peninsula were awarded Native Title and
recognition of their customs by Federal Court Justice Mansfield whose judgment said:

In my view (the) material supports the conclusion that in the period between effective sovereignty

The judgment gave the Barngarla people official ownership of 44,500 square kilometres for one of the
most populated Native Title areas in Australia. Recognition of sovereignty entitles the Barngarla people to
their customs and a direct say on how their land is managed, which speaks to the proposed radioactive
waste site that falls within the Barngarla Native Title boundaries. Denial of Barngarla voting rights
followed by an action to repeal their Native Title through an Act of parliament is to take lightly the
binding nature of a Federal Court judgment thus the standing of our court system
and the present day, the Barngarla tribe as it existed at sovereignty has continued to exist, and the present
claim group is the continuation of the original Barngarla people

The effect of this Bill, if successful, will be to undermine the Native Title Act, taking a retrograde step in
race relations. …..Section 34 GB Application of Commonwealth Laws and Section 34 GA Application of State and Territory
Laws

34 GA (1) (c) seeks to override the archaeological and heritage values of the land, the significance of the
land in the traditions of the Indigenous owners, by overriding existing state and territory legal protections.

34 GB (1) (a) seeks to override the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984.

34 GB (b) seeks to override the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

All of the above are unacceptable. In overriding the existing state and Commonwealth legal protections
the Federal Government will set a dangerous precedent. South Australia’s Nuclear Waste Facility
(Prohibition Act) introduced in 2000, strengthened in 2002, must not be repealed.

Recommendations
(a) The National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Bill 2020 should be withdrawn. Cease all
attempts to extinguish the Native Title of the Barngarla people.
(b) Accept that traditional owners have a right of veto over any attempt to use their lands for storage of
nuclear waste.
© Adopt the principle of free, prior and informed consent when consulting with Indigenous people.
(e) Start phasing out reactor–based production of medical isotopes.
(d) Leave radioactive waste where it is. Clean up existing radioactive waste sites, moving waste about as
little as possible to avoid spills and contamination.
I

June 6, 2020 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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