Traditional Owners Call For Widening Of Consultation Over Nuclear Waste Site

Traditional owners in the north of South Australia have welcomed news that two ballots about the proposed National Radioactive Waste Facility have been deferred until a decision is made about proper consultation with native title holders.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation applied for an injunction to halt the vote by the Kimba District Council in South Australia’s Supreme Court, arguing it contravened the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. The Court deferred the ballot until the matter is heard by the Full Court tomorrow, Thursday 21 August.

A similar ballot in the community of Hawker, to be conducted by the Flinders Ranges Council, has also been deferred pending the outcome of the hearing. Native title holders in that area, the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) is campaigning against the site being located near Hawker.

Chairperson of the Yankunytjatjara Native Title Aboriginal Corporation Karina Lester says that the Federal Government should take note of the voice of Traditional Owners and now broaden the consultation about the site further.

“The views of all South Australian Traditional Owners need to be properly respected” said Ms Lester.

“Actually, this is not just a South Australian regional issue but a national issue and that all Australians need to be consulted” said Ms Lester

“The Federal Government needs to acknowledge traditional ownership of South Australian country as recognised in our native title determinations and not ignore South Australia’s past activism against a Nuclear Waste Dump.”

“South Australian Traditional owners have always said NO TO NUCLEAR WASTE” she said.

Yankunytjatjara Native Title Aboriginal Corporation (YNTAC) have strongly campaigned in the past against The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission and the Irati Wanti Campaign and many of their members are survivors of the British Nuclear Tests in the 1950’s – 1960’s. They hold native title over areas to the north of the proposed Federal Nuclear waste sites.

Transport routes for the radioactive waste are yet to be determined, but traditional owners along any transport routes must be consulted said Ms Lester.

The two proposed waste sites are near the township of Kimba in the north of the Eyre Peninsula, which is Barngarla country and one near the township of Hawker, which is Adnyamathanya country.

“We stand strong in solidarity with our fellow Traditional Owners and call on others to stand with us as we have done in the past and say no to a National Nuclear Dump” said Ms Lester

Ms Lester also called on the South Australian government to use existing state legislation – the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000 – to prevent the establishment of the radioactive waste site.

“The Premier of South Australia needs to be hearing and respecting the voices of traditional owners of South Australia and reconsider their position on making changes to the Prohibition Act SA” said Ms Lester

The act was established to “protect the health, safety and welfare” of South Australians by prohibiting nuclear waste storage facilities in the state.

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.