Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Traditional owners seek documents in nuclear dump case

The Transcontinental. By Tim Dornin, August 15 2022 ,

Traditional owners have asked for wide-ranging access to federal government documents as part of their efforts to block the construction of a nuclear waste dump in South Australia.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation is engaged in Federal Court action seeking to stop the proposed dump at Napandee, near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula.

On Monday their lawyers outlined the reasons why the government should hand over a considerable volume of material it relied on in choosing the site and in preparing supportive legislation.

Some of the most contentious material related to correspondence the applicants contend must have taken place between then resources minister Keith Pitt and his department.

Others related to commitments the previous government made not to impose the dump on an unwilling community.

But the Commonwealth argued the Barngarla had been given a “complete record of the decision-making process” and what was being asked for went far beyond an orthodox judicial review.

“They should focus their efforts upon minister Pitt’s conduct rather than essentially seeking to have a royal commission into the cacophony that surrounds the drafting of legislation and the announcement of particular political decisions,” the court was told.

Justice Natalie Charlesworth indicated she was mindful to allow discovery of some of the material, regarding it relevant to the case.

However, she asked the parties to negotiate further to potentially narrow the scope of the documents being sought, particularly in two of the seven categories outlined.

Justice Charlesworth also cautioned that while production of the documents might be ordered, whether or not they proved admissible in the substantive case, now likely to be heard in March next year, was yet to be determined.

The case will return to court next week.

The Barngarla launched their action last year seeking to overturn the coalition government’s decision to develop the dump by quashing the ministerial declaration.

The corporation also recently wrote to new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese urging him to scrap plans for the dump.

It said the previous federal government had tried to silence the traditional owners at every turn, denying their right to participate in a community ballot to gauge local support for the site.

The corporation said the coalition also refused access to the land to undertake a proper heritage survey and tried to remove its right to judicial review.

Ahead of Monday’s hearing, Barngarla chairman Jason Bilney said it was hoped the new federal government would quickly realise how badly the former government handled the project.

“We fought 21 years to win our native title and if we have to fight 21 years to stop this nuclear waste dump damaging our country, then we will have to do it,” he said…… more https://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/7861791/traditional-owners-seek-docs-in-dump-case/

August 16, 2022 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, legal

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