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Reflections on the 2007 ‘no waste dump’ road trip

Ten years ago a group left Alice Springs on a two week speaking tour “From the Heart, For the Heartland”, with meetings in Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney. A follow up meeting was held later in Perth.

The group consisted of Traditional Owners and community representatives from four areas being assessed for the National Radioactive Waste Facility. The aim was to hold public meetings, media interviews and a photo and art exhibition to increase awareness about the dump proposal and build support from a broad range of people.

Along the way we met with many wonderful people and solidified networks that remain engaged in nuclear free struggles today.

Here are a few of the pics from along the way. The photo taken in the office has a sombre feel as it was taken on June 21 literally just after the extremely racist, draconian and far reaching Northern Territory Intervention laws had been announced.

The tour was a really important part of the campaign to stop the NT waste dump and was also an important foundation for the national campaign that was to come against the Intervention.

Friendships made along the way (two weeks in a mini-bus!) have endured.

As we reflect on the lessons from the successful NT dump campaign, thoughts are with Adnyamathanha people and the community around Kimba now faced with the same waste prospect and communities that continue to live under the Intervention today.

Speaking tour_group speaking tour_mitch interview speaking tour_tent embassy speaking tour_Greens speaking tour_Audrey trades hall speaking tour_Oxfam speaking tour_Mitch art speaking tour_Adeladies Speaking tour_exhibition Speaking tour_DJ Heartland speaking tour meeting list

Exposure 2016: Port Augusta, September 2-4

SOUTH AUSTRALIA CURRENTLY FACES THE VERY REAL THREAT OF NUCLEAR WASTE DUMPING.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE GOVERNMENT IS PROPOSING?
DO YOU HAVE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS?
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Exposure 2016 in Port Augusta will help highlight the facts we know and the answers we need.

Right now plans for both national and international radioactive waste dumps are being actively pursued in S.A.

1. In April the federal government selected Wallerberdina near Hawker in the Flinders Ranges as a possible site for a national low and intermediate level radioactive waste dump.

2. In May the SA nuclear Royal Commission recommended that developing a high level international waste dump be “pursued as soon as possible”. The SA government is consulting with communities and will make a formal response before the end of the year.

These plans and decisions would directly affect the future of all of us. It is time to gather the facts and get informed and active!

Exposure 2016 will hear from health and economic experts, Traditional Owners, pastoralists, tourism operators and others affected by these proposals.

SA’s sorry nuclear history began with atomic bomb testing in the 1950s. These caused widespread sickness and deaths and the impacts continue today. There is no safe level of radiation exposure and no safety guarantees with nuclear waste.

Exposure 2016 opens on Friday night with ‘Talking Straight Out’, an exhibition showcasing the earlier Irati Wanti campaign. Senior Aboriginal women from Coober Pedy, the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, took on the federal government and won. They stopped a radioactive waste dump from being built in northern S.A.

Click here to RSVP to the Talking Straight Out exhibition (in addition to your RSVP for the Exposure 2016 weekend)

Saturday and Sunday will involve a mix of formal and informal sessions and workshops. There will be a focus on:

-Explaining the two dump proposals – what they would involve and mean
-Traditional Owners’ voices and rights
-Radioactive impacts on people and the environment
-What does a high level nuclear waste port and dump look like?
-The economics and impacts on our industries including tourism, farming and recreation
-Flinders Ranges/Wallerberdina nuclear waste dump proposal
-Working together and taking action
-Speaking out and being heard

People are welcome to join in different sessions, wander through the stalls and displays, ask questions, take part in workshops and collect resources to take home to your community.

Everyone is welcome at this free event. It will be held at the Institute Theatre, Commercial Rd and at Gladstone Square in Port Augusta. Lunch and refreshments will be supplied on both days and on Saturday night there will be a shindig.

See the full Exposure 2016 program.

Please RSVP to show your interest, save the date in your calendar and let your community, family and networks know about this event. And please get in touch with us if there are ways you would like to contribute, if you have any questions or suggestions for topic areas.

Email: 2016exposure@gmail.com

Phone: 0435 590 374

Exposure 2016 is supported by Conservation Council SA, No Dump Alliance and GANG, with consultation and drive from communities across SA.

We’re under a nuclear cloud but we’re not backing down

By Robyn Rayner.

Farmers contend regularly with fire, flood and drought, but fine wool producer Robyn Rayner never expected to be fighting off plans for a radioactive waste dump across the road from her property.

March 11, 2016

How would you feel if you woke up one morning and was told via a media report that you could be living next door to a nuclear waste dump?

On November 13 last year the Federal Government announced a shortlist of six sites, from twenty eight volunteered properties around Australia, for a proposed national radioactive waste dump. A property at Hill End was named. Since then our lives have been turned upside down. My husband Geoff and I, along with our family, own and run Pomanara Merino Stud directly across the road from the proposed site. It is just 1.5km from our family home. We are second-generation woolgrowers and our son James would like to be the third. This may not be important to Government Departments, but it is to us. This nuclear waste will also be around for generations to come, wherever they put it.

We have worked long and hard to achieve the clean, green and sustainable label that we have today. Our region is renown for growing the best superfine wool in the world and we have won many major awards for the sheep we breed. At no time did the landowner who nominated his property consult with neighbours, nor did he take into consideration the environment or the village of Hill End, located nine kilometres away. Hill End is a historic precinct that host 5000 school children a year and over 100 000 other visitors. The nominated property backs onto the Turon River, a major waterway for the food bowl of Australia.

Stress and anxiety has left us not able to function properly in our day to day lives. Our farm work has suffered. When you own livestock, they have to be your number one priority. Instead we wake up every morning with a nuclear cloud over our head. We are trying to make sense of how the Government could sign off on a site without even visiting the area beforehand. Wherever this facility is located, it will remain there for many hundreds of years. We need to ensure that future generations are well informed as well as protected from any harm that will come from this site.

The proposed site was first listed in the Government Gazette and official Department website as 3165 Hill End Road Sallys Flat NSW. This address does not actually exist. The owners of 3165 Hill End Road Hill End have not and do not wish to volunteer their property. The correct lot number is actually 2641- the coordinates initially published were in fact for the proposed Queensland site. How does a Government department, with resources at its fingertips, get it so wrong? How can we trust these people with nuclear waste when they cannot get a simple address correct?

We have so many unanswered questions. A Department Official told the Hill End meeting on November 26 that no reports will be done until the next phase of the project. Yet Minister Josh Frydenberg said in an interview with Ray Hadley (21 January 2016) that extensive weather, seismology and infrastructure reports have been completed.

The Minister also stated that some neighbours were in favour of this proposal, yet all direct neighbours have twice stated their objections at meetings with Government representatives present.

In the same radio interview the Minister stated that Bathurst Regional Council was in favour, when in fact it had not yet voted on the issue. On February 3 the Council voted against the waste facility being built in the region. Mid-Western Regional Council Mudgee, Lithgow City Council and the Bathurst and Mudgee Chambers of Commerce have also raised objections. The Rural Fire Service has stated that they would not attend any call outs. The Peel Residents Association and the Wattle Flat Progress Association passed motions against the dump. The mid-state sub branch of the National Servicemen’s Association of Australia has also stated opposition.

The Government representatives only wanted one on one meetings with directly affected neighbours, but we insisted on public meetings. The community and the neighbours are all, and will remain, completely against this proposal. This has actually brought our community closer together. We stand united and we will fight to the end.

The time and effort that it is taking to fight this battle is financially and emotionally draining. The stigma of living next to a nuclear waste dump will have an ongoing and lasting impact on our land values and business. Farmers choose to live and work the land, most for little financial gain, but more for the rewards and satisfaction. This is very special to us, something for us to pass onto our children and for them to remember us by.

My husband Geoff, Jodie Carter and I have just been to Canberra, together with representatives from the other five proposed sites. We come from all walks of life, from all parts of Australia, but we were all there for the same reason. We are united in our opposition to a nuclear waste dump being forced on our communities.

Minister Josh Frydenberg refused to meet with us even though some site representatives had travelled for two days. Instead we had a very heated and lively meeting with two senior advisors and a Department representative. It was distressing listening to the other community members and their worries. We heard of more bungles in the process. For example, the post office box advertised for submissions was incorrect for months. This was only noticed when submissions started returning to people who had thankfully put their address on the back. How many had been sent in without return addresses before the Government corrected the problem? Good question.

Even this week, the online ‘consultation hub’ for making submissions says the Minister is seeking views from people where the seven (not six) nominations are located. Is there somewhere else we are unaware of? Or is this yet another simple error that should have been avoided?

We all make mistakes, but it is how we accept and act to correct those mistakes that people will judge us on. The Government should scrap these sites, admit they got it wrong, and then apologise to the people this has affected. They should then start a responsible and correct process to decide what to do with the waste- not just pushing it on regional and rural communities with promises of financial gain. They need to find out a way to stop making more nuclear waste and research what we can do or use instead.

Our community does not want a radioactive waste facility at Hill End. We have supported hundreds of locals to make submissions to the public comment period that closes today (March 11). The people of Muckaty in the NT fought for eight years to stop a waste dump there and we are willing to do the same if necessary. We want to hold the Government accountable, to get all six sites off the list and get this process right.

Facebook: No Central West Nuclear Waste Dump

National radioactive waste dump proposal

Six sites around the country have been shortlisted to host a national radioactive waste facility. Public comment on the proposal, called the National Radioactive Waste Management Project, closes on March 11, 2016. You can make a submission via the government website, which also has an address for postal (and video) submissions.

Communities in each of the six areas shortlisted to potentially host the national facility are campaigning to be taken off the list. Visit their facebook pages via the links below and visit the national waste dump page for further information.

Hill End  |  Kimba  |  Omanama  |   Hale

Don’t nuclear waste Australia: community gathering to witness waste shipment.

The first shipment of nuclear waste returning from overseas reprocessing is due to arrive in Port Kembla (Wollongong) in the first week of December.

The Maritime Union of Australia (Illawarra Branch), South Coast Labour Council and Beyond Nuclear Initiative are organising a community gathering to witness the shipment being unloaded and transported to Lucas Heights for extended interim storage.

The BBC Shanghai is scheduled to arrive Friday 9:00am but may not berth then. We will hold the community gathering at Saturday 1pm and expect the waste transport from the Port to Lucas Heights to begin just before midnight that evening.

 

FACEBOOK EVENT:    Don’t nuclear waste Australia: community gathering to witness waste shipment.

 

The radioactive material was produced at the Lucas Heights nuclear research reactor in Sutherland Shire and sent overseas for reprocessing, whereby uranium and plutonium are extracted. The returning waste is classified long-lived intermediate level waste and must be isolated from people and the environment for thousands of years.

Radioactive waste is a risk to workers who are handling the materials and people living along the proposed transport routes. However, while the nuclear reactor is still operating, extended interim storage at Lucas Heights is considered by many as the ‘least-worst’ option. It is a secure federal facility with the concentration of Australia’s nuclear expertise.

The federal government’s plan to transport this waste in five years to one of six shortlisted sites is irresponsible and unnecessary. Communities at all of the proposed locations oppose the plan and once this waste is back at Lucas Heights, it should stay there where it will be front of mind, rather than out of sight in a regional or remote area.

Radioactive waste is an intractable problem and the first principle of management must be minimisation- stop producing it.

A Royal Commission in South Australia is currently examining the possibility of importing international high-level waste, but we will not allow this shipment to be the start of increased transports or an expansion to the nuclear industry in Australia.

Join us at Port Kembla to say: Don’t nuclear waste Australia.