Australian news, and some related international items

The critically important work of Australia’s indigenous rangers

Indigenous rangers play a silent and undervalued role as leaders and educators in their communities, role models for how to progress in both worlds. It’s important to provide local, challenging, culturally relevant, real jobs to keep these leaders embedded within the fabric of their families and communities.

They need a commitment beyond 2018 that their real jobs will still exist.

[The video below does not apply to The Numbulwar ranger group, but still gives an example of the kind of work that they do]

Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger Program

Are Indigenous rangers engaged in ‘real jobs’? The answer is simple, Guardian , 22 July 16 

As well as protecting the land, Indigenous rangers play an undervalued role as leaders in their communities. It’s never been more important to protect these jobs. Many conservative politicians and commentators argue Indigenous ranger jobs are not “real jobs”. This is perfectly illustrated by the recentleaking to Crikey of a secret federal Coalition government plan to radically change this successful Indigenous ranger program in order to “get participants into employment”. While the minister for Indigenous affairs, Nigel Scullion has denied he is planning an overhaul of the program, his government has not made a commitment to fund the program beyond 2018.

This question of whether ranger jobs are “real jobs” can easily be put to rest.

The Numbulwar ranger group in Arnhem Land was re-established in November 2015, Continue reading

July 23, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, employment, environment, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Will Australia’s new Resources Minister Matt Canavan really listen to Aboriginal people?

Canavan, MattMatt Canavan has now the opportunity to correct these mistakes and engage in a truly inclusive and transparent process which actually listens to the concerns of the community and other stakeholders. Although a nuclear proponent, he should ensure that this process is not dealt with light-heartedly and pays attention to all aspects involved.

This would best be achieved through an independent inquiry into Australia’s nuclear waste and options for managing it.

Aboriginal communities all across Australia have sustainably managed the land for thousands of years, longer than any other group of people can claim. Their knowledge and concerns are valuable. Let’s hope they will be listened to. 

3rd Minister in two years to handle Australia’s nuclear waste dump   Anica Niepraschk – , 22 July 2016 The recent federal election has once more seen a bit of a reshuffle in PM Turnbull’s cabinet and thereby thrown the portfolio for Australia’s national radioactive waste dump in the hands of another Minister for the third time in less than two years.

After 20 years of failed siting processes for the proposed dump, then Industry and Science Minister Ian MacFarlane only announced a new attempt in November 2014. The first half of last year saw a voluntary nomination process happen where landowners across Australia could propose their property to host Australia’s low and intermediate level nuclear waste. Out of the 28 sites nominated, six were shortlisted for further consultation and investigation last November. All six site nominations were highly contested by the local communities.

Although the government, with its new ‘voluntary’ approach promised to not impose a nuclear waste dump on any community and therefore rely on voluntary nominations and community consultation, one of these six sites, Wallerbidina/ Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges, SA, made it to the next stage of the process, despite the strong opposition of the local Adnyamathanha community at Yappala station, just kilometres away from the site.

Not only chose the government to once again, after pursuing Coober Pedy from 1998 to 2004 and Muckaty in the NT from 2005 to 2014, to target an Aboginial community but it also chose a culturally highly significant site. The proposed property, nominated by former Liberal Senator Grant Chapman, is part of a songline and hosts many cultural sites, including the beautiful Hookina springs, a sacred women’s site for the Adnyamathanha. The local community remains actively connected to the maintenance and preservation of the land and is documenting and preserving their culture and history through recording traditional heritage sites and artefacts and mapping storylines in the area. Continue reading

July 23, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Coalition govt’s secret plan to take over community-run indigenous rangers scheme

secret-agent-AustLeaked docs reveal secret Coalition plans for indigenous rangers Although the Indigenous Rangers — Working on Country program is a huge success, Nigel Scullion wants to overhaul it from a community-run to a top-down structure. Crikey, Josh Taylor , 15 July 16  A secret document, leaked to Crikey, reveals significant changes being considered for the federal government’s wildly successful indigenous rangers program — that is, if Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion keeps his job and is around to implement them.

The “Indigenous Rangers — Working on Country” program was started in 2007 under the Howard government as a means to provide employment and training for indigenous Australians into work applying their knowledge of the local land to care for it. It currently employs 777 indigenous rangers in full-time roles in 107 different groups, and more than 2500 indigenous people overall in full-time, part-time or casual positions…… (subscribers only)

July 16, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Indigenous opposition to the international waste dump plan

text-relevantNuclear waste dump case unravels, World News Report, 13 July 16 , Green Left By Renfrey Clarke  “……..Yankunytjatjara Native Title Aboriginal Corporation chairperson Karina Lester told a packed venue at a June 16 meeting: “The overwhelming majority of traditional owners … continue to speak out against establishing an international waste dump.”

Indigenous spokespeople have condemned the project since it was first mooted. In May last year, soon after the royal commission on South Australian involvement in the nuclear cycle began its work, representatives of 12 Aboriginal peoples met in Port Augusta.

logo No dump Alliance SAThe gathering issued a statement that said: “South Australian Traditional Owners say NO! We oppose plans for uranium mining, nuclear reactors and nuclear waste dumps on our lands.

“We call on the Australian population to support us in our campaign to prevent dirty and dangerous nuclear projects being imposed on our lands and our lives and future generations.”

The prime site for the long-term waste repository is on the lands of the Kokatha people, near the towns of Woomera and Roxby Downs.

The Transcontinental Railway crosses the region and, as the Australian explained on June 27, the ancient rocks of the underlying Stuart Shelf are “considered by experts to have the best geological conditions for a nuclear dump”.

Early this year Dr Tim Johnson of the nuclear industry consulting firm Jacobs MCM told the royal commission his company envisaged a new port being built on the South Australian coastline to service the project. An interim storage facility nearby would hold newly-arrived wastes above ground for some decades, until they had cooled sufficiently to be transported by rail to the permanent dumpsite.

The only practical location for the port and above-ground repository would be on the western shore of Spencer Gulf, south of the city of Whyalla. Spencer Gulf is a shallow, confined inlet whose waters mix only slowly with those of the Southern Ocean. Any accident that released substantial quantities of radioactive material into the gulf would be catastrophic for the marine environment. Profitable fishing, fish-farming and oyster-growing industries would be wiped out, and the recreational fishing that is a favourite pastime of local residents would become impossible.

To connect the above-ground repository to the rail network, a new line would need to be built from the present railhead at Whyalla. Taking wastes north for permanent storage, trains would pass by the outskirts of Whyalla and Port Augusta.

Initially, the materials transported would be large quantities of low and intermediate-level waste, also planned for importation and burial. But after several decades, transport of high-level wastes would begin and would continue for another 70 years.

Awareness is growing in the Spencer Gulf region of the dangers posed by the nuclear industry. On June 24 in Port Augusta about 80 people took part in a protest against the federal plans to site a separate dump, for Australian-derived low-level radioactive wastes, near the Flinders Ranges’ tourist area………..

July 13, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, reference, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Indigenous rangers partner with scientists in researching coral bleaching

coral bleachingIndigenous rangers on the frontline of coral bleaching in remote Australia, ABC News By the National Reporting Team’s Kate Wild, 12 July 16  [Excellent pictures and video] In April this year Indigenous rangers from the Crocodile Islands received an alarming photograph of a coral reef off the coast of Arnhem Land. Leonard Bowaynu, who has fished the same reef since he was teenager, had seen small scattered patches of white coral before — but never anything this extensive.

“We used to go out, catch fish from the reefs. I never seen coral turning to white, like around the island or reef,” he said. Concerned by the image, rangers travelled to the area with a drone and GoPro camera to collect further evidence.

Michael Mungula said it was the first time Yolgnu people had seen the coral bleached white at that reef.
“At Murrangga [Island] we never seen white coral there before, during the 50s, 60s and 70s. But we seen it now, 2016.” “We need scientists to come here and do research in the Crocodile Islands,” Mr Mungula said. Meanwhile, 300 kilometres south-east, in waters around Groote Eylandt, Indigenous Rangers were watching giant clams turn white as well.

Anindilyakwa Rangers on Groote Eylandt began trialling the cultivation of giant blue-lipped clams (Tridacna squamosa) five years ago.

But in April the rangers noticed a number of the clams had turned white. Rick Taylor, the ranger manager, sent underwater footage of the clams to the ABC. He said it was first time he had seen the clams bleach since the trial was established in 2011.

With the two ranger groups’ permission, the ABC sent images of the Crocodile Islands coral and clams from Groote Eylandt to marine scientist Andrew Heyward at the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Dr Heyward said the aerial photograph from the Crocodile Islands provided the first confirmation of a bleaching event in Arnhem Land. “It appears that in those areas checked it was severe,” he said. He said the photograph Crocodile Islands Rangers had received was confirmation of a massive bleaching event over the reef.

“The comments by the local rangers that they have never seen it [like this] before in their country is particularly telling that things are unprecedented, at least in human generational time frames,” Dr Heyward told the ABC……..

Skilled observers a precious commodity Dr Heyward said Indigenous rangers were able monitor environmental shifts in parts of the country most people cannot reach, and said he was keen for scientists and rangers to work together……Ranger groups have expressed enthusiasm for equal partnerships with scientists.

July 13, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, climate change - global warming, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Enice Marsh at the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury – about the Federal nuclear waste dump

handsoff“……..JUROR: Enice, you are representing all of the Adnyamathanha people.

 Is that correct?
 MS MARSH: Because I’m an elder I am classed as a leader as well.
MS MARSH: Yes. So I am speaking for Adnyamathanha people. JUROR: So you’ve had consultation with the rest of the elders there? 5 MS MARSH: Yes, and with the native title group, the native title which is the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association, and they oppose the radioactive waste dump on Adnyamathanha land as well. So I am comfortably speaking on behalf of the camp mob and of the Adnyamathanha Nation.
JUROR: Okay. Thank you. So we could not get consensus then from the landowners. That would be a bottom line, wouldn’t it? If they are 100 per cent opposing this, the rightful owners to the land will not allow it. Is that correct?
MS MARSH: That’s right. ………
– and then the final announcement came. We knew at one stage that there was six nominated sites in South Australia but then the final announcement came in the early hours of – some time in April, I forget when it 45 was. And I got a message from the media at 2.30 in the morning to say that the .SA Nuclear 09.07.16 P-181 Spark and Cannon nuclear waste dump had been narrowed down to one site. From six sites yesterday, it had been narrowed down to one site which will now be on Adnyamanthanha land, Wallerberdina Road, Barndioota on Adnyamathanha land. I was absolutely shattered. Like anyone would who was getting a phone 5 call at 2 o’clock in the morning – half past two in the morning to tell you this kind of news that you’d been opposing for months and months anyway. And my reaction was I felt as though I’d been struck a blow to the back of the head by an axe. That’s just how I felt. I was absolutely shattered. And throughout the morning, I tried to collect myself to get my life in order, to try – at 6.30, I 10 sat down at the table to try and eat my breakfast but I was bombarded by phone calls from the media asking me questions about how I felt about this. Well, I was a mess but I had to get myself together to do – do some kind of report, which I did.
And then of course I had family members too, ringing me and calling me, what are we going to do? Shall we meet? You know, how can we stop this, and so on and so on. So it’s been a really experiencing task, it’s been a terrible task and it is a task that we’re still living with today and the answer at this stage, to this day, is no. We don’t want this radioactive waste dumped on our sacred 20 land. And we called this land (indistinct) means (indistinct) is spiritual land. We believe that our spiritual people are still walking with us when we go there for picnics and go camping there. And then the other thing we describe the land is that Moondayata. When we say Moondayata, it’s sacred land, it’s secret land. Be careful how you go there and treat the land and that is our 25 custom, it’s in our culture, that is our custom and we say no to the radioactive waste. ……’%20Jury%20-%20090716.pdf

July 13, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australian Catholic Aboriginal leaders call for a TREATY NOW

text TreatyAustralia is the only country in the English-speaking world that does not have a Treaty with its First Peoples. The USA, Canada, New Zealand and many other countries have treaties with their First Peoples, recognising their rights and prior occupation of their lands. We can be part of this.

It was made clear during community consultations that many Victorian Aboriginal peoples do not want to be recognised in the Constitution, as it will be more of the same lip service we have endured for decades, like many of the promises made to us in the past that changed nothing.

Catholic Aboriginal leaders in Victoria call for a Treaty 28 June 2016 Sherry Balcombe, Coordinator, Aboriginal Catholic Ministry

 In 1986 in Alice Springs Pope St John Paul II gave the most dramatic recognition by the Church in Australia to Aboriginal people. He challenged the Aboriginal people to find their rightful place in the Australian Church. Following that speech, the Aboriginal Catholic people around Australia felt new life and inspiration.

We at the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Victoria have been greatly supported by the Archdiocese of Melbourne and we acknowledge this support and are grateful for helping us make our voice heard. It takes courage to step across the cultural abyss, so many thanks to the Archdiocese.

I feel that it was a personal challenge to me, and continues to be, to find our rightful place; we are constantly challenged to justify ourselves.

For far too long governments, authorities and the Church have tried to do things for Aboriginal people. Our wish is to do things for ourselves. With your support, encouragement and collaboration we can make this a brighter, prouder and more inclusive chapter in Australia’s shared history.

Although dominant cultures in Australia see us as the victims and problems, we know and see our great warriors: people running organisations, bringing up families and educating the wider communities on the deep, meaningful contributions that we can make to the life of this great country.

We have the chance right now to move forward the right and proper way by working with Aboriginal people towards the common goal of a Treaty. Our people have struggled on the fringes of society for far too long. Continue reading

July 10, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

The Nuclear Industry and Indigenous People -theme for July 16

Mary-Kathleen-Uranium-mine-Indigenous people continue to bear the brunt of nuclear toxicity. It started with uranium mining – of course, on indigenous land in rural areas, in USA, Canada, Bulgaria, Australia, Germany , India,  and of course to provide nuclear weapons material.

Then came the nuclear bomb tests – on remote rural indigenous lands and islands

map atomic bomb tests

Indigenous peoples either stayed on their polluted lands, as uranium mining continued, or were removed from bomb tests sites, unable to return.
Algeria bomb site


















This Radioactive pollution remains today, from uranium mining in many countries – but always on or close to indigenous lands. The nuclear bomb test sites remain too radioactive for the indigenous people to return home.

Uranium mining and milling, nuclear bomb tests and radioactive wastes ... Russia is Mayak Russiasecretive about its nuclear wastes. They used to dump it in oceans, as  did the French and others. Russia is notorious for its extremely polluted remote area at Mayak, where the rural people suffer the health legacy to this day

The “developed” world realises that something must be done with the growing amounts of radioactive trash.

Where to dump it?  That’s a “developed society” no brainer waste on indigenous
– ON INDIGENOUS LAND, of course.  There’s now a movement to export radioactive trash to remote rural areas, such as the Aboriginal lands of Australia

Next week we will look at the indigenous fight against the nuclear industry


July 9, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Christina themes | Leave a comment

Tarlka Matuwa Piarku Aboriginal Corporation signs agreement with uranium company Toro

Toro signs native title deal for Wiluna, Yahoo News Jarrod Lucas, Kalgoorlie – The West Australian on July 7, 2016   Uranium hopeful Toro Energy has signed a native title agreement with the traditional owners of its proposed Wiluna mine.

It comes as Toro waits on the Environmental Protection Authority’s verdict on Wiluna after a three-month public review process was completed in February.

Wiluna is one of three Goldfields uranium projects — alongside Vimy Resources’ Mulga Rock project and WA’s biggest deposit, the Cameco- owned Yeelirrie — which are awaiting EPA approval.

The agreement with the Tarlka Matuwa Piarku Aboriginal Corporation, the native title holding body of the Wiluna people, recognises opportunities for a range of business and employment initiatives.

Toro’s managing director Vanessa Guthrie said the agreement was reached after more than seven years of relationship building with the Wiluna people……….

In July 2013 the Federal Court determined their native claim over almost 48,000sqkm, including the Millipede, Centipede and Lake Way uranium deposits which Toro plans to mine. The Wiluna project also takes in the Lake Maitland deposit, where mining would begin six years into the 20-year project life.There is currently no native title claim over Lake Maitland, but Toro has been engaging with the Barwidgee people who claim an interest.

The Liberal Government overturned a ban on uranium mining in 2008, but WA has not produced a single pound of yellowcake, with prices depressed since the 2011 Japanese tsunami sent the Fukushima plant into multiple meltdowns.

Wiluna became the first mine in WA to win State Government environmental approvals in October 2012 and Toro added Federal approval six months later. But the $35 million acquisition of the Lake Maitland deposit from Mega Uranium in mid-2013 meant Toro went back to the drawing board to win further approvals to add new deposits to the mine plan.

The situation is now delicately poised with Toro, Vimy and Cameco striving to win environmental approval before next year’s State election.

WA Labor remains opposed to the mining and export of uranium, but shadow mines minister Bill Johnston says the party would not over-turn approvals if it wins next year’s State election……….

July 8, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

The Lizard Bites Back goes North

Buzzacott,-Kevin Nectaria Calan 6 July Arabunna elder Uncle Kevin Buzzacott has invited participants at the Lizard Bites Back to visit his country today, to witness firsthand the impacts of BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine on the mound springs in the Lake Eyre region.  The mound springs are integral to the desert ecosystem and sacred to the Arabunna people, and are threatened by the 37 million litres of water per day that the mine uses from the Great Artesian Basin, which feeds the mound springs.

The Lizard Bites Back has attracted over 300 people from around the country, converging near the mine gates for a weekend of direct action, workshops on nuclear issues, and music.  After two days of workshops and marches to the gates of the mine, the last day of the convergence saw nearly one hundred activists block the main road to the mine for eighteen hours.  Riot police were sent in at midnight.  On their way, riot police approached base camp, in what appeared to be a simulated raid.

“They approached camp in formation at midnight, shouting at people to get out of their tents,” said Nectaria Calan, co-organiser of the Lizard Bites Back. “Then, for no apparent reason, they retreated.  Trying to terrorise people at a non-violent protest camp was a low move, but in line with the police’s behaviour all weekend,” continued Ms Calan. “They have spent the weekend defecting cars and trying to deter people from attending the event by telling them that the public land we are camped on is owned by BHP Billiton. They have also prevented mine workers from visiting the camp.  Although they have been lodged for the weekend by the company’s accommodation, they should remember that they do not actually work for BHP.”

“Despite the petty dishonesty of the police and the ongoing abuse of their powers, hundreds of people had the opportunity to sit on country and learn about the risks and impact of the nuclear industry, and disrupt the normal operations of a mine that will leave millions of tonnes of tailings that will remain radioactive for several hundred thousand years.”

“With South Australia facing two proposals for nuclear waste dumps, The Lizard Bites back has also aimed to raise awareness about the connections between uranium mining and nuclear waste,” said Ms Calan.  “A responsible approach to managing nuclear waste would begin with stopping its production.”

Co-organiser Izzy Brown said, “Until we stop mining this metal that we have no idea how to dispose of safely, we will keep returning to remind BHP Billiton and the government that the intergenerational health and environmental impacts of this industry are more important than money.”

Many participants have called for another convergence next year.

“After this weekend, this is the most optimistic I’ve ever felt since Western Mining Corporation started digging up the old country.  This industry is a house of cards,” said Uncle Kevin.

“This place has a long history of struggle, and we will continue to struggle to honour the sacrifices made by the elders that struggled before us, that may still be with us if this mine was not established. We need to say sorry to the old country and begin healing this land.”


July 6, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, environment, opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

Once again, Australian government wages nuclear war on Aboriginal people

The plan to turn South Australia into the world’s nuclear waste dump has been met with near-unanimous opposition from Aboriginal people.

The Royal Commission acknowledged strong Aboriginal opposition to its nuclear waste proposal in its final report – but it treats that opposition not as a red light but as an obstacle to be circumvented.


highly-recommendedtext-relevantRadioactive waste and the nuclear war on Australia’s Aboriginal people,
Jim Green 1st July 2016
Australia’s nuclear industry has a shameful history of ‘radioactive racism’ that dates from the British bomb tests in the 1950s, writes Jim Green. The same attitudes persist today with plans to dump over half a million tonnes of high and intermediate level nuclear waste on Aboriginal land, and open new uranium mines. But now Aboriginal peoples and traditional land owners are fighting back!

From 1998-2004, the Australian federal government tried – but failed – to impose a national nuclear waste dump on Aboriginal land in South Australia.

Then the government tried to impose a dump on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory, but that also failed.

Now the government has embarked on its third attempt and once again it is trying to impose a dump on Aboriginal land despite clear opposition from Traditional Owners. The latest proposal is for a dump in the spectacular Flinders Ranges, 400 km north of Adelaide in South Australia, on the land of the Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners.

The government says that no group will have a right of veto, which is coded racism: it means that the dump may go ahead despite the government’s acknowledgement that “almost all Indigenous community members surveyed are strongly opposed to the site continuing.”

The proposed dump site was nominated by former Liberal Party politician Grant Chapman but he has precious little connection to the land. Conversely, the land has been precious to Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners for millennia.

It was like somebody ripped my heart out’

The site is adjacent to the Yappala Indigenous Protected Area (IPA). “The IPA is right on the fence – there’s a waterhole that is shared by both properties”said Yappala Station resident and Adnyamathanha Traditional Owner Regina McKenzie.

The waterhole – a traditional women’s site and healing place – is one of many archeological and culturally significant sites in the area that Traditional Owners have registered with the South Australian government over the past six years. Two Adnyamathanha associations – Viliwarinha Aboriginal Corporation and the Anggumathanha Camp Law Mob – wrote in November 2015 statement:

“Adnyamathanha land in the Flinders Ranges has been short-listed for a national nuclear waste dump. The land was nominated by former Liberal Party Senator Grant Chapman. Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners weren’t consulted. Even Traditional Owners who live next to the proposed dump site at Yappala Station weren’t consulted. This is an insult.

“The whole area is Adnyamathanha land. It is Arngurla Yarta (spiritual land). The proposed dump site has springs. It also has ancient mound springs. It has countless thousands of Aboriginal artefects. Our ancestors are buried there.

“Hookina creek that runs along the nominated site is a significant women’s site. It is a registered heritage site and must be preserved and protected. We are responsible for this area, the land and animals.

“We don’t want a nuclear waste dump here on our country and worry that if the waste comes here it will harm our environment and muda (our lore, our creation, our everything). We call on the federal government to withdraw the nomination of the site and to show more respect in future.”

Regina McKenzie describes getting the news that the Flinders Ranges site had been chosen from a short-list of six sites across Australia: “We were devastated, it was like somebody had rang us up and told us somebody had passed away. My niece rang me crying … it was like somebody ripped my heart out.”

McKenzie said on ABC television: “Almost every waste dump is near an Aboriginal community. It’s like, yeah, they’re only a bunch of blacks, they’re only a bunch of Abos, so we’ll put it there. Don’t you think that’s a little bit confronting for us when it happens to us all the time? Can’t they just leave my people alone?”

Adnyamathanha Traditional Owner Dr Jillian Marsh said in an April 2016 statement:

“The First Nations people of Australia have been bullied and pushed around, forcibly removed from their families and their country, denied access and the right to care for their own land for over 200 years. Our health and wellbeing compares with third world countries, our people crowd the jails. Nobody wants toxic waste in their back yard, this is true the world over. We stand in solidarity with people across this country and across the globe who want sustainable futures for communities, we will not be moved.”

The battle over the proposed dump site in the Flinders Ranges will probably be resolved over the next 12 months. If the government fails in its third attempt to impose a dump against the wishes of Aboriginal Traditional Owners, we can only assume on past form that a fourth attempt will ensue……

Now Aboriginal people in South Australia face the imposition of a national nuclear waste dump as well as a plan to import 138,000 tonnes of high-level nuclear waste and 390,000 cubic metres of intermediate level waste for storage and disposal as a commercial venture.

The plan is being driven by the South Australian government, which last year established a Royal Commission to provide a fig-leaf of independent supporting advice. The Royal Commissioner is a nuclear advocate and the majority of the members of the Expert Advisory Committee are strident nuclear advocates.

Indeed it seems as if the Royal Commissioner sought out the dopiest nuclear advocates he could find to put on the Expert Advisory Committee: one thinks nuclear power is safer than solar, another thinks that nuclear power doesn’t pose a weapons proliferation risk, and a third was insisting that there was no credible risk of a serious accident at Fukushima even as nuclear meltdown was in full swing.

Announcing the establishment of the Royal Commission in March 2015, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said“We have a specific mandate to consult with Aboriginal communities and there are great sensitivities here. I mean we’ve had the use and abuse of the lands of the Maralinga Tjarutja people by the British when they tested their atomic weapons.”

Yet the South Australian government’s handling of the Royal Commission process systematically disenfranchised Aboriginal people. The truncated timeline for providing feedback on draft Terms of Reference disadvantaged people in remote regions, people with little or no access to email and internet, and people for whom English is a second language. There was no translation of the draft Terms of Reference, and a regional communications and engagement strategy was not developed or implemented.

Aboriginal people repeatedly expressed frustration with the Royal Commission process. One example (of many) is the submission of the Anggumathanha Camp Law Mob (who are also fighting against the plan for a national nuclear waste dump on their land):

“Why we are not satisfied with the way this Royal Commission has been conducted:

Yaiinidlha Udnyu ngawarla wanggaanggu, wanhanga Yura Ngawarla wanggaanggu? – always in English, where’s the Yura Ngawarla (our first language)?

“The issues of engagement are many. To date we have found the process of engagement used by the Royal Commission to be very off putting as it’s been run in a real Udnyu (whitefella) way. Timelines are short, information is hard to access, there is no interpreter service available, and the meetings have been very poorly advertised. …

“A closed and secretive approach makes engagement difficult for the average person on the street, and near impossible for Aboriginal people to participate.”

The plan to turn South Australia into the world’s nuclear waste dump has been met with near-unanimous opposition from Aboriginal people. The Aboriginal Congress of South Australia, comprising people from many Aboriginal groups across the state, endorsed the following resolution at an August 2015 meeting:

“We, as native title representatives of lands and waters of South Australia, stand firmly in opposition to nuclear developments on our country, including all plans to expand uranium mining, and implement nuclear reactors and nuclear waste dumps on our land. … Many of us suffer to this day the devastating effects of the nuclear industry and continue to be subject to it through extensive uranium mining on our lands and country that has been contaminated.

“We view any further expansion of industry as an imposition on our country, our people, our environment, our culture and our history. We also view it as a blatant disregard for our rights under various legislative instruments, including the founding principles of this state.”

The Royal Commission acknowledged strong Aboriginal opposition to its nuclear waste proposal in its final report – but it treats that opposition not as a red light but as an obstacle to be circumvented.


July 4, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, reference, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Indigenous elder Dr Jillian Marsh – Greens candidate for Grey, South Australia

Marsh, Dr JillianNuclear personal and political for Dr Jillian Marsh Politicians more often than not stick religiously to the party line when it USA election 2016comes to key policy issues.

But for The Greens’ candidate for Grey, Dr Jillian Marsh, the issue of a proposed nuclear industry in South Australia is not just political – it is personal, too. Dr Marsh is a traditional owner and elder of the Adnyamathanha people.

She endorses The Greens’ nuclear and uranium policy which outlines a future without uranium or nuclear energy production. But she said that her Aboriginal heritage motivated her to take the role as candidate for Grey and fight against the proposed nuclear dump.

“I know this is something I have as an obligation as an Adnyamathanha traditional owner,” Dr Marsh said. “I am required to step up to the mark … to take this on board for the sake of future generations.”

One of the proposed sites for a low to intermediate-level nuclear waste dump at The Wallerberdina station, near Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges, sits on Adnyamathanha land.

Dr Marsh was involved in anti-nuclear protest marches through Port Pirie and Port Augusta recently.She felt the the responsibility as a traditional owner and elder of the Adnyamathanha people to speak out about the federal and state government plans.

“Traditional owners, the Aboriginal people, have really had a gutful of this type of approach to community consultation,” she said. “They are always facing the prospect of their culture and country being damaged, destroyed, abused once again.”

Dr Marsh said that the consultation processes and uncertainty put a lot of pressure on aboriginal communities. “It creates a lot of ill-feeling in the community,” she said. “This type of uncertainty and angst is one of the things contributing to the shorter lifespans faced by our people.”

The translation of Adnyamathanha is “people of the rock” or “people of the rocky country” and Dr Marsh said this sacred cultural connection is under threat. “Our connection to the land is constantly being ransacked by ill-informed policies,” she said.

July 1, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, election 2016, South Australia | Leave a comment

Indigenous Australians versus the nuclear industry – a story of successes – theme for July 16

The Kungkas wrote in an open letter: “People said that you can’t win against the Government. Just a few women. We just kept talking and telling them to get their ears out of their pockets and listen. We never said we were going to give up. Government has big money to buy their way out but we never gave up.”

In 1963, Aboriginal people of East Arhem Land created ochre-framed bark petitions adorned with the clan designs of all that was threatened by mining – from the snakes to the sand dunes. These petitions  against mining paved the way for the Indigenous land rights movement. These were the  first traditional documents to be recognised by the Australian Parliament.

In  1966 Vincent Lingiari led the walk-off of ­Gurindji people from Wave Hill station , leading to l Whitlam’s historic land rights declaration in 1975. The indigenous people’s struggle for their land has never ceased.  The focus for this fight for over 40 years was the Tent Embassy, established in Canberra in 1972, to protest against a court decision over mining operations on Aboriginal land.

Without financial resources, but with clear determination, Aboriginal people have fought and won many battles, especially against mining , with protests, and legal action.

On the nuclear front, outstanding victories include the  Cape York Olkola people’s three-decade struggle against uranium mining,  the Mirrarr people’s success in preventing further uranium mining at Ranger, in Northern Territory, and Jeffrey Lee’s remarkable action in preventing AREVA from further uranium mining in Kakadu National Park

In stopping nuclear waste dump plans for South Australia, in 2004  the battle was led by the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, a council of senior Aboriginal women from northern SA. Aboriginal women led the 7 year battle to prevent nuclear waste dumping at Muckaty, Northern Territory.

I hope that White Australia will gather strength in opposition to the latest onslaught from the nuclear lobby – the nefarious Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission’s plan for South Australia as the global radioactive trash toilet.  Very few indigenous people will be taken in by the slick spin and bribery of the nuclear lobby. Those strong, intelligent indigenous people who continue their determined fight, need all the support they can get from the rest of us.

June 30, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina themes | Leave a comment

At long last Kenbi Aboriginal land claim is settled

KENBI: settlement at last!
‘As we look to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act,
final settlement has been reached over the Kenbi land claim. In a battle that has been going on for nearly as long as the existence of the Land Rights Act itself, the Kenbi claim has been the focus of numerous court cases and claim hearings, and hostility from a succession of CLP governments.’
Land Rights News | Northern Edition | April 2016 Issue 2 Page 1!topic/wgar-news/2AjmlTzThP0 via WGAR News

June 26, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Labor and Liberal united in disregard for indigenous people, over nuclear waste dumping

Tweedle-Nuclear7 shady things Labor & Liberals have in common Progressive Reflection JUNE 1, 2016     “……..5. Dumping Nuclear waste on Indigenous Australians

Labor and Liberal politicians united earlier this year to profit from turning South Australia into a dumping ground for nuclear waste. But where do you put the most hazardous waste you can think of? Who’s backyard would our political leaders dump a hot radioactive mess in and feel guilt free about it? Who else but Indigenous Australians?.

Fukushima was an unfortunate reminder of how badly nuclear can go wrong, and many countries have since reconsidered nuclear plans. Nuclear is unlikely to ever be the energy of the future it was once thought to be. So why think of poisoning any Australian land with nuclear waste at all?

Because free money!

It’s a dream come true for some Australian politicians – rather than grapple with the politically difficult tasks of ending corporate welfare, or tax loopholes, or paying for essential services the Government could rake in a tidy $6 billion a year for at least 70 years.

All they’d have to do is screw over an indigenous community.

It’s practically business as usual.

And when Labor and Liberal come together to make something happen, they sure can be brazen about their disregard for indigenous people.

Wallerberdina Station near the Flinders Ranges is the only shortlisted site for the nuclear waste dump. Back in November last year, the indigenous community nearby demanded the government reject the proposal.

The dump threatens a local heritage site.

Federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg has creatively interpreted their concerns as “a broad level of community support“.

Frydenberg has said that consultation with traditional owners would be undertaken as part of the next phase of the project. That seems nice of him, except that the number of proposed sites for the dump is: 1. Just that site. What do you think the likelihood is the consultation will result in the only site planned being scrapped?

The consultation is there to serve the purpose of pretending to have listened, so that when the site goes ahead and indigenous Australian’s are outraged, they can be patronisingly told they had their chance to have their say………

June 17, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment


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