The Federal Court has dismissed the Barngarla people’s case against a proposed ballot about the placement of a National Radioactive Waste site near Kimba.

Justice White has ruled that the planned ballot to gather opinions of residents about the site by the Kimba District Council did not contravene the Racial Discrimination Act.

Outside the Federal Court following the hearing, SA Greens MLC Mark Parnell said

“It’s just an incredible disappointment that Traditional Owners are denied a say on a nuclear waste dump on their country”

The Barngarla people had claimed that the ballot discriminated against them as native title holders and so as Indigenous people.

The process for the planned ballot meant freehold land owners who lived outside the area would have a vote, while native title holders who lived outside the area would not. Lawyers for Barngarla had argued in court that breached the Racial Discrimination Act.

The dispute was first heard in the Supreme Court and was then referred to the Australian Human Rights Commission for mediation. When the parties could not reach agreement, the matter was put before the Federal Court.

The case has deferred a final decision by the Federal Government on the location of the Radioactive Waste site, as well as a similar ballot planned over a possible site in the Flinders Ranges on Adnyamathanha country.

You can read the full judgement here.

By Lucy Kingston


SANTS acknowledges that the land on which our office is based is the traditional lands for the Kaurna people and we respect their spiritual and cultural relationship with their country.