Australian news, and some related international items

Greens support Barngarla people’s opposition to Kimba radioactive waste dump set to open after 2030

ABC North and West SA / By Nicholas Ward

Greens senators travelled to Kimba on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula this week to hear from farmers and First Nations groups opposed to the national radioactive waste management facility proposed at Napandee.

Key points:

  • Calls are growing for the federal government to drop court action against a First Nations group opposing a nuclear dump
  • The local Native Title chair says the government is “not being truthful” about listening to Aboriginal voices
  • Greens senators say intermediate-level waste must stay at Lucas Heights until a permanent storage solution is found

SA senator Barbara Pocock said the federal government’s process to determine the site for permanent low-level and temporary intermediate-level waste storage was flawed. 

“It didn’t listen to First Nations people, it hasn’t listened to local farmers in the community, and it’s not an appropriate site for intermediate-level waste coming out of Lucas Heights [in Sydney],” Senator Pocock said.

“It results in the double-handling of highly toxic intermediate-level waste, which will be temporarily stored at Kimba, and future generations are going to have to find a long-term solution.

“Bearing in mind the history of nuclear testing in our state, it’s especially important that we … can find a safe long-term solution, not a temporary solution.”

Calls to listen to Aboriginal voices

Jason Bilney is chair of Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC), which is fighting the federal government in court to block the current proposal.

He said the government’s continued legal action showed a lack of commitment to listening to Aboriginal voices.

“They’re breaking First Nations hearts by continuing down this path of the Liberals and outspending us 4: 1 in court to put a nuclear waste dump on our country,” Mr Bilney said.

“What does that say about the Statement from the Heart, let alone constitutional recognition?

“It’s about truth-telling and yet they’re not being truthful about listening to our voice.”

Mr Bilney welcomed the senators’ visit to Kimba and said proponents of the waste dump needed to speak honestly about its impact on Barngarla culture.

“It’s always good to come out on country and actually see for themselves where the site is and meet us on country. It’s a very positive step,” he said.

‘Don’t need a court to tell us’

BDAC holds native title over large areas of the Upper Spencer Gulf and Eyre Peninsula, including around Kimba, but not at the specific location of the proposed radioactive storage site at Napandee.

The Greens’ spokesperson for First Nations, Science and Resources, Senator Dorinda Cox, said that did not delegitimise Aboriginal concerns about its placement.

“The Barngarla people have stories, know the songlines, know the importance of birthing places, know the importance of country and practice of their culture in a very strong and traditional way still,” Senator Cox said.

“I don’t think we need a court to tell us that, and unfortunately that is a process they are pushed into.

“There was no free, prior, informed consent.”

Waste at Kimba ‘not expected before 2030’

The Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA) is overseeing site preparation works at Napandee, while awaiting final approvals to begin construction of the waste facility.

“Construction of the facility can only commence after all necessary siting, construction, nuclear, and environmental regulatory approvals are received,” an ARWA spokesperson said.

“The facility is not expected to be operational before 2030.”


April 22, 2023 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics

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