Australian news, and some related international items

Kimba’s “brand” – up till now – praised as Agricultural – but could change to The Nuclear Dump – if the government’s planned facility goes ahead.

Greg Bannon, InDaily, 1 Feb 23, It seems ironic to read that the Kimba District Council is searching for a new brand beyond nuclear waste.

Anyone who has followed this issue of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) over the last seven years would know that Kimba has nominated a total of four sites. The first two, along with 23 others Australia-wide, were put up as part of a national invitation to landholders in 2015. Those two were abandoned in 2016, after the Kimba community voted against the proposal.

Members of the community, led by the Council who were unhappy with that decision, applied to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) for another chance to get the dump, and two new sites were nominated under the Department’s revised guidelines. One of those sites, Napandee, was announced by two previous Coalition Ministers responsible for the decision. DIIS set tight, restrictive guidelines to better control who was considered eligible to in favour of or against the NRWMF. The guidelines were different for the two communities, Flinders Ranges and Kimba, originally vying to be chosen as “host” site.

Minister Matt Canavan originally named Napandee the national winner before resigning to the back bench ahead of the 2019 federal elections. His successor, Keith Pitt, tried to expedite the process by relinquishing Ministerial discretion in favour of having Napandee named in the legislation. If passed, this would have extinguished any legal challenge to the decision. The Bill passed the Lower House but stalled in the Senate due to the Government’s lack of numbers, after which Minister Pitt reverted to the original Ministerial decision to let the Napandee site progress.

Court action by the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) caused a 12 month halt to the process. A major point of their grievance is that their voice was excluded from the community voting process. A higher court ruling, due in March, is still pending but meanwhile the Adelaide-based Australian Radioactive Waste Agency is pressing ahead with “site characterisation” work. This seems quite a contradiction considering that the new federal Labor Government is committed to legislating a First Australians’ voice nationally, but using its legal powers to fight the Barngarla’s.

Among the reams of propaganda material in support of this nuclear waste facility has been the claim that it would provide a new “industry” for the district. It would be totally unrelated to and independent from agriculture. Originally it promised 15 jobs, before this promise was tripled to 45 including associated tourism and security.

It has never been convincingly explained how 15 jobs became 45 apart, from the fact that the site will temporarily house Australia’s most toxic nuclear waste, intermediate level (needing 10,000 years management), alongside permanent disposal of low level material, which will only need to be managed for 300 years.

It is not hard to see why there is call for the town to be seen as something beyond nuclear. The community has been and still is seriously divided by this issue. If this dump goes ahead there, Kimba will be known forever as the home of Australia’s first national radioactive waste facility. How can something that requires security and management for so long be separated or covered up?

The Kimba district does have many other attractions. The recent harvest has been one of the best, producing high quality grain for the local market and for export. There are such huge areas of Australia that are not suitable for this type of agriculture.


February 3, 2023 - Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia

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