Australian news, and some related international items

Friends of the Earth urge all South Australian federal Labor politicians to push for the scrapping of Kimba nuclear waste plan.

From Friends of the Earth – The letter below was sent today to all South Australian federal ALP politicians.

We are writing in regard to the proposed construction of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (nuclear waste dump) at Napandee, near Kimba in South Australia.

We wish to thank the SA Labor Caucus for its resolution at the recent South Australian ALP State Convention supporting “a veto right for the Barngarla community on this facility”. The resolution states, “Continuing with this project, including ancillary earthworks outside of current legal injunctions, despite the opposition of the Barngarla people, undermines efforts toward reconciliation.”

As a Labor Party politician elected to federal parliament to represent South Australia, we urge you to push for the implementation at the federal level of SA Labor’s position on this matter. We are concerned that the current Minister for Resources Madeleine King is following the lead of the bureaucracy in pursuing the former Coalition government’s policy on the nuclear waste dump.

Napandee was announced as the chosen site for the permanent disposal of low level radioactive waste (LLW) and temporary storage of intermediate level radioactive waste (ILW) in February 2020 by then federal resources minister Senator Matt Canavan. It was subsequently officially declared on 26 November 2021 by Senator Canavan’s successor Mr Keith Pitt MP. There is no reason why the current Labor government should allow itself to be bound by policies of the previous government promoted by National Party politicians Senator Canavan and Mr Pitt.

To pursue this project risks undermining the Labor government’s signature policy of enshrining in the Constitution a First Nations Voice to Parliament. A voice to parliament would enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to provide advice to the parliament on policies and projects that impact their lives. The clear advice from the Barngarla people, the Traditional Owners of this area, is that they don’t want a nuclear waste dump on their land. The Barngarla people were excluded from a community ballot conducted by the Kimba District Council in November 2019, so they conducted their own independent poll. Not a single Traditional Owner voted in favour of the dump.

Besides the Barngarla people, significant other affected communities have not been consulted. A facility that would involve transportation of radioactive waste through South Australia should involve consultation with all communities along the transport route and with the wider public. No such consultation has occurred.

There are better alternatives to a centralised waste dump in regional South Australia. The overwhelming majority of the waste comes from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) Lucas Heights facility. The safest and most secure place to continue to manage and store the waste is at Lucas Heights, especially given that the proposed Napandee site would only provide temporary storage for intermediate level radioactive waste (ILW). A final disposal site for ILW would still have to be found. What is the point of double handling it?

We urge you to push for the federal government to promptly overturn the previous government’s declaration of the Napandee site and to cease all work at the site.


November 8, 2022 - Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia

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