Australian news, and some related international items

Western Australia bushfire a threat to homes and lives

WA bushfire a threat to homes and lives  26 Jan 19   Authorities in Western Australia say a bushfire burning in Perth’s northern suburbs is a threat to lives and homes. An emergency warning has been issued for a bushfire burning out of control in Perth’s northern suburbs with authorities warning of a threat to lives and homes.

The fire at Jandabup is burning in an area near Sydney Road and Ross Street and a nearby pine plantation.

“The bushfire is moving fast in a north-westerly direction. It is out of control and unpredictable,” Emergency WA says.

Spot fires are also starting up to 300 metres ahead of the fire front.

Authorities say the best escape route is to the southwest, using Badgerup Road but anyone still planning to leave should follow the directions of fire crews.


January 27, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Ngalia man Kado Muir opposed Warren Mundine’s pro nuclear campaign for Western Australia

Response to Warren Mundine, letter published in the Australian Financial Review, Kado Muir, April 2012,…

(at left Kado Muir) It’s time to stop radioactive racism

Globally the nuclear industry is in decline and has been for a long time. The price of uranium was briefly inflated along with false dreams of a nuclear renaissance, in reality the industry is waning. The Fukushima disaster reminded both communities and financial institutions that nuclear power is far too risky for life on this planet.

In Western Australia we have a very aggressive uranium exploration program, sponsored by the State Government, yet deeply opposed by the people. We have a strong history of resistance against uranium mines and a proud history of stopping these mines. In the 1970′s my elders fought against uranium mining at Yeelirrie. In the 1980′s people from the Western Desert marched down St Georges Terrace in the thousands against uranium mining on their lands and we are proud to say we’ve never had a uranium mine in WA. We are going to keep it that way.

Warren Mundine wrote to the Financial Review promoting the nuclear industry. He wants uranium mining, he wants nuclear power and he wants the international community to dispose of its nuclear waste here, all on our lands. Mr Mundine does not speak for us here in Western Australia and has no right to talk about what should or should not happen on our country.

Some of the communities who are being barraged by these wanna be miners have generations of knowledge about uranium ‘poison’. We know better than most, the dangers of uranium. We also have generations worth of experience in dealing with mining companies , of witnessing their broken promises and the deep enduring failures of government to protect our country and people.

We don’t need someone from the East Coast, from Canberra or Canada to tell us what we should or shouldn’t do. Uranium stays in the ground. We have a saying, “Wanti* Uranium, leave it in the ground!” (*leave it)

The nuclear industry across Australia takes it’s toll on Aboriginal communities; from the nuclear weapons testing in Maralinga and Monte Bello island, from the trial mines in Wiluna, Yeelirrie and Manyingee in WA, to the abandoned mines in the NT & Queensland at Rum Jungle and Alligator River and Mary Kathleen, the existing mines at Ranger and Beverley and Roxby Downs in SA. The defeated proposed waste dump in South Australia now proposed for Muckaty Station in the NT. This industry preys on remote Aboriginal communities keeping everything out of sight and out of mind.

Across Australia there has never been a uranium mine that has not leaked radioactive mine waste into the environment, this industry has been tried and consistently failed.

The risk to our lands, to life itself far outweigh the measly rewards, the few jobs on offer, the State government royalties. It is not worth the long term damage to our country and to our water.

These mines will only last for 10 years or 20 years but as custodians we have thousands of years of waste. Long after this State government is a memory, long after the mining companies have gone broke we will be living with the radioactive legacy of their greedy short term ambitions. I and the people of West Australian Nuclear Free Alliance will not sell future generations short.

Kado Muir is the Chairperson of the West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance, he is a Ngalia man and a custodian for Yeelirrie – one of the uranium deposits under exploration by BHP Billiton.

January 24, 2019 Posted by | politics, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Scorching temperatures sweep across Western Australia

December 27, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Western Australia | 1 Comment


December 3, 2018 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia set for a scorching summer

Perth cruises through dry, ‘benign’ November as BOM flags glimpse of hot summer to come, ABC News, By Irena Ceranic 30 Nov 18  As Queensland sweltered through heatwave conditions which fuelled catastrophic bushfires, and torrential rain flooded New South Wales, Perth cruised through a mild November, recording its driest in 61 years and coolest in a decade.

Key points:

  • Perth’s spring rainfall totalled 78.4mm, compared to the average of 148.9mm
  • The average temperature in Perth in November was a cooler-than-usual 25.3C
  • The temperature in the city on Monday is forecast to soar to 36C

There were only two wet days in the month and between them, they delivered just 3.2 millimetres of rain to the Perth metro gauge — far less than the 23.2mm average — making it the driest November since 1957.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) spokesman Neil Bennett said the days were also cooler than usual, with an average of 25.3 degrees Celsius………

Get set for a summer scorcher

Perth had an unusually cool summer in 2017-18 and did not record a single day over 38C. But above-average temperatures are expected over much of WA this time around, according to the outlook for December to February from BOM.

“We don’t have a strong signal one way or the other for the rainfall, so that sort of suggests that we’re likely to see average rainfall for the next three months,” said Mr Bennett.

“Temperature-wise though, it does look as if the odds are favouring warmer-than-average temperatures.”

Perth will get a glimpse of what is to come on Monday, when the temperature is forecast to soar to 36C.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Noongar traditional owners challenge settlement that will extinguish native title

The ILUA extinguishes native title over the settlement area in exchange for a benefits package which includes depositing $50m a year over 12 years into the Noongar Boodja perpetual trust and transferring 320,000 hectares of freehold and leasehold land to that trust, to be developed and used by the Noongar community.

“It is not about money, it is about the land, and saving our land from mining,” Smith said. “If this deal goes through, the south-west will not be worth living in.”

December 1, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Native title win for Nanda people in Western Australia

Native title win for Nanda people in WA The Nanda people have been formally recognised by the Federal Court as the native title holders of more than 17,000 square kilometres of land in WA. A 24-year legal battle has finally ended with the Nanda people recognised as the native title holders of more than 17,000 square kilometres of land and water in Western Australia’s Mid West region.The determination area covers the tourist town of Kalbarri, Kalbarri National Park, the Zuytdorp Nature Reserve and the Toolonga Nature Reserve.

Federal Court Justice Debbie Mortimer held an on-country hearing at the Kalbarri foreshore on Wednesday to deliver her judgment.

Nanda Aboriginal Corporation chairman Carrum Mourambine said the hearing was emotional because some Elders had died since the original claim.

“(They) were not here to witness this historic occasion,” he said.

“This determination means that we can continue to pass on our knowledge of culture and traditional customs to future generations.”

The Nanda people native title claim is a combination of two claims.

The first was lodged with the National Native Title Tribunal in 1994 and the second came two years later, then they were combined in 2000.

The determination was by consent, which means it was reached by agreement with other parties to the claim, including the state government.

“The court’s determination will preserve, protect and recognise in contemporary Australian law what the Nanda people already know, and have always known, about their connection by traditional law and custom to their country,” Justice Mortimer said in her judgment.

“They are to be admired for their persistence and determination, in light of the many obstacles facing Aboriginal people and their communities.”

November 30, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia’s uranium promise: 10 years later it’s a complete flop

November 29, 2018 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia’s “uranium bonanza” just not happening

WA’s uranium promises fail to appear, Midwest Times, Dave Sweeney, 21 Nov 18 Ten years ago this week then premier Colin Barnett ended Western Australia’s long-standing ban on uranium mining.

Industry promoters boasted of a new mining sector that would be “iron ore on steroids” and the speculation and exploration began in earnest.

In the intervening decade widespread community concern and resistance, combined with a depressed commodity price and a growing appetite for renewable energy, has seen the uranium dream fade.

Today there is not one commercial or fully approved uranium mine despite years of promotion and preferential treatment, and the few projects that continue to seek approval are strongly contested.

This is good news for WA and beyond as uranium is a mineral with unique properties and risks that cause local damage and fuel global risk.

Thanks to those who have helped keep the brakes on this contaminating trade and who have a perspective that lasts longer than a politician’s promise.

November 29, 2018 Posted by | uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Legal action in Western Australia means delay, uncertainty, for Cameco’s Yeelirrie uranium mine

October 29, 2018 Posted by | legal, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Spain’s government blocks Western Australian company’s bid to open uranium mine

Spain to block Berkeley uranium mine project – sources, CNBC , Belén Carreño, 16 Oct 2018  The Spanish government has decided not to deliver the permits necessary to open the European Union’s only open-cast uranium mine near Salamanca, dealing a serious blow to Australian mining company Berkeley Energia’s plans.

The project was granted preliminary approval in early 2013 but has since faced local opposition………
A neighbouring mine run by public company ENUSA was previously in operation near the site in Retortillo in Salamanca province, but closed in 2000 after it failed to turn a profit.
The price of uranium fell heavily following Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011 and for years struggled to recover.

October 18, 2018 Posted by | Western Australia | Leave a comment

WA Indigenous community tries to rid water supply of unsafe level of uranium

Western Australian government refused to install water treatment plant due to size of Buttah Windee, Guardian,  Calla Wahlquist, 3 Oct 18, An Aboriginal community in Western Australia is trying to raise money to fix its water supply, which contains unsafe levels of uranium.

Buttah Windee is a community of four houses about 3km from Meekatharra, a mining town that’s name means “place of little water” in the local Yamatji language.

It has 12 permanent residents and is supplied with bore water that is contaminated with uranium at more than twice the maximum safe level.

The WA government was notified of the uranium contamination in 2012 but refused to install a water treatment plant, saying the cost of doing so was “excessive given the small size of the community”.

Instead it put up signs warning residents not to drink or cook with the water and offered alternative public housing in Meekatharra itself.

Yamatji man Andrew Binsiar has been fighting to stay put. He has raised more than $10,000 through crowdfunding and an art auction and hopes to install a water filtration system to supply both the community and a new fish farm, which is part of a remote Indigenous employment program.

Binsiar discovered the uranium contamination nine years ago when all of the fish in his backyard koi pond died. He sent the water away to be tested and found that it had uranium levels of 0.04mg/L.

Health guidelines state that the maximum safe level is 0.017mg/L.

“I had it tested again this year, it’s still exactly the same,” Binsiar told Guardian Australia.

He installed a 9,000-litre tank on each house, which he fills with tap water from the town supply, to be used for drinking and cooking.

Uranium is a naturally occurring contaminant throughout parts of outback Australia.

2015 report by the state auditor general’s office found that the water in one in five remote Aboriginal communities in WA exceeded safe levels for nitrates or uranium.

The Department of Communities currently tests the water supply in 82 remote Aboriginal communities, and said it had seen a significant improvement in water quality since installing chlorine treatment units and reverse osmosis filtration systems in some communities.

It said it withdrew government support for Buttah Windee in 2013 after the community rejected an offer to establish a new public housing agreement in Meekatharra.

“The community elected to continue to reside at Buttah Windee and accept responsibility for the provision of housing and associated services to residents,” assistant director Greg Cash said. “The department ceased providing management services in 2013 and has had no formal relationship with the community since then.”

Binsiar said: “They came and sat on the veranda over here and said they were going to put a bulldozer through my house and put be back into [public housing provider] Homeswest.”

In 2014, then premier Colin Barnett said up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities faced “closure” because they were “not viable” after the federal government withdrew municipal services funding.

The current government opposed that policy but has adopted the remote community reform process started under Barnett which focuses investment on larger communities. It has also cited funding woes linked to the end of the remote housing agreement.

Binsiar said many remaining residents – Wadjarri people and his wife’s extended family – had lived there since it was established on Wadjarri land in 1993.

He said the community was a safer place to raise children, away from the drug and alcohol issues of Meekatharra.

Unless the community’s water supply can be fixed, the new aquaculture enterprise, which is part of the federal community development program, will have to close.

“If we get this thing to a stage and we can’t fix the water, all the young fellas are going to say, ‘Oh, we have to get this far and then stop again’,” Binsiar said. “I want to show people that Australia is truly a generous, generous mob of people. If you are willing to work, people will help.”

October 4, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment


 K-A Garlick ,  Nuclear Free WA, 21 Sept 18

To have your voice heard about Flinders Ranges nuclear waste dump plan, make a submission to Federal Minister for Resources Senator Matt Canavan via email at by 24 September.

On 6 February 2018, the Senate referred an inquiry into the selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia to the Senate Economics References Committee for inquiry and report by 14 August 2018. Read our submission here. Read all submissions on the government website here.   The report acknowledged and validated many of the concerns about the process but unfortunately did not call for an end to the process and for a better way to manage the process of selecting a site for Australia’s most hazardous waste.  You can read the Senate report here. Read the Conservation SA media release here.

Points to mention for WA are; 

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Another lithium mine opened in Western Australia

WA’s newest lithium mine plans to double down, WA Today By Hamish Hastie, 5 September 2018  Western Australia’s newest lithium mine was officially opened this morning, marking the seventh operating mine in the state.

Altura Mining’s 100 per cent-owned Pilgangoora lithium mine is located 90 kilometres south-east of Port Hedland and will support 130 ongoing jobs.  The mine will produce about 220,000 tonnes per annum of lithium spodumene concentrate but the company is already considering plans to double production to tap into growing global battery demand for electric vehicles and storage.

The Pilgangoora lithium deposit currently has an ore reserve estimate of 41.1 million tonnes…..

Beyond just exporting lithium the state government’s lithium and energy materials industry taskforce is investigating the state’s ability to produce and process lithium and other energy materials.

The taskforce will present a lithium and energy materials strategy to cabinet over the next few months……

September 7, 2018 Posted by | rare earths, Western Australia | Leave a comment

 Walkatjurra anti-uranium Walkabout completed

The Walkatjurra Walkabout has finished with a storm (literally)! An awesome walk into Leonora with lots of support to keep WA nuclear free.  A successful public meeting the following day having CCWA Director Piers Verstegen come into Leonora to support the community and in particular the three Tjiwarl native title holders, Shirley, Lizzy and Vicky on the court challenge that included a visit to the proposed radioactive waste dump.  You can see photos and read about their adventures here.

September 7, 2018 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment