International waste plan dumped: referendum on a road to nowhere

The proposal for an international high level nuclear waste dump in South Australia has effectively been buried.

A solid campaign was run by Traditional Owners, state and national environment groups and trade unions. 70% of the ‘Citizen’s Jury’ said it should not be pursued under any circumstances, backed up by 35000 signatures presented to SA Premier Jay Weatherill last week.

Weatherill has called for a statewide referendum on the issue, but knows this is highly unlikely to go ahead given the strong opposition from the (opportunistic) Liberals. Below is a statement issued by the No Dump Alliance after the referendum idea was announced.

Biggest respect and congratulations to friends, comrades and colleagues who have been working on this campaign tirelessly since March last year.

Now we must redouble efforts to stop the proposed national nuclear waste dump on Adnyamathanha land in the Flinders Ranges, SA.

MEDIA RELEASE- Monday 14 November 2016
Weatherill has turned his back on Traditional Owners over waste dump.

No Dump Alliance spokesperson and Narungga man Tauto Sansbury has come out swinging against Jay Weatherill’s announcement that he is continuing his push to turn SA into the world’s high-level nuclear waste dump.

“The high level nuclear waste dump is overwhelmingly opposed by Traditional Owners and the wider community and the Premier’s announcement is a divisive move to get his own way. It is deeply disappointing that Aboriginal communities must continue to fight this issue when we have so many other issues to deal with.”

The Community Views Report released on Sunday states: “Many [Aboriginal] participants expressed concern about the potential negative impacts on their culture and the long-term, generational consequences of increasing the state’s participation in the nuclear fuel cycle. There was a significant lack of support for the government to continue pursuing any form of nuclear storage and disposal facilities. Some Aboriginal people indicated that they are interested in learning more and continuing the conversation, but these were few in number.”

“Our people will continue to fight this nuclear waste dump proposal to the end,” said Mr Sansbury.

Ms. Karina Lester, Chairperson Yankunytjatjara Native Title Aboriginal Corporation (YNTAC) and daughter of Atomic test survivor Yami Lester said “We will stand our ground and maintain what we have said all along: “No waste dump in our Ngura (Country)”. I will take this to our YNTAC AGM and discuss with our members what the Premier is now saying, to run a Statewide Referendum, and rally my community to use our rights to veto and say no to this unjust and insane idea of storing and disposing of nuclear waste from other countries. South Australians have been engaged in his process and have strongly spoken up about South Australia, that it is too good to waste. This is not only South Australia’s issue and decision to make this is Australia’s issue. No means no.”

No Dump Alliance spokesperson and MUA Branch Secretary Jamie Newlyn was surprised by the Premier’s lack of political judgment by announcing a referendum into SA becoming the world’s Nuclear Waste Dump.

“Premier Jay Weatherill has proven politically adept at picking up on whether a policy will fly with the community, but on the issue of nuclear waste he has totally missed the mark.

The Citizen’s jury, Aboriginal community and tens of thousands of South Australians have made it clear that South Australia and Australia should not be the world’s Nuclear Waste Dump.

The economics don’t stack up, Safety of Workers and Community doesn’t stack up, Environmental concerns don’t stack up and ignoring Aboriginal concerns don’t stack up.

The MUA call on the Premier to abandon the case for Nuclear Waste and look for bold sustainable job creating ideas for our great state that we can all be proud of and support.”

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