Australian traditional owners fight nuclear waste dump planPublished by MAC on 2016-05-02
Source: Statements (2016-04-30)
Previous article on MAC: Aboriginal communities up in arms against nuclear dumping on their land
Barndioota (SA) the only site to be assessed for national radioactive dump
30 April 2016
Federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg has announced that Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges region of SA is the only site that will be further assessed to host the national radioactive waste facility. Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners are devastated to hear the news, with Elder Enice Marsh stating she is ‘shattered’ by the decision. Traditional Owner and neighbouring landholder Regina McKenzie said “”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).”
The Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association CEO Vince Coulthard said in a press release “This is our land, we have been here forever and we will always be here and we are totally opposed to this dump. ATLA is the main “key stakeholder” yet they have shown us no respect. This is in our sacred country with a very important spring just nearby. This is another example of cultural genocide. This cannot happen!”
Representatives from the other nominated communities have released a statement offering ongoing support to their friends near the Barndioota site, stating they “stand shoulder to shoulder” with the community and “will offer whatever support [they] can.” The affected communities have supported each other throughout the nomination process and undertook a joint lobbying trip to Canberra in February this year.
Keep up to date via the facebook page Fight the Nuclear Waste Dump South Australia.
Supporters are also encouraged to upload a photo to the FB page with a sign calling for ‘No Nuclear Dump in the Flinders Ranges’.
Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners will fight nuclear waste dump plan
29 April 2016
The federal government has announced that the Flinders Ranges has been selected as the preferred site for a national nuclear waste dump. The land was nominated by former Liberal Party Senator Grant Chapman and his nomination has been endorsed by the Liberal government in Canberra.
Adnyamathanha Traditional Owner Regina McKenzie, who lives at Yappala Station near the proposed dump site and is a member of Viliwarinha Yura Aboriginal Corporation, said:
“Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners weren’t consulted about the nomination. Even Traditional Owners who live next to the proposed dump site at Yappala Station weren’t consulted. The proposed dump site is adjacent to the Yappala Indigenous Protected Area. On the land with the proposed dump site, we have been working for many years to register heritage sites with the SA government. The area is Adnyamathanha land. It is Arngurla Yarta (spiritual land). The proposed dump site has countless thousands of Aboriginal artifacts. Our ancestors are buried there. The nominated site is a significant women’s site. Throughout the area are registered cultural heritage sites and places of huge importance to our people.
“There are frequent yarta ngurra-ngurrandha (earthquakes and tremors). At least half a dozen times each year, we see and feel the ground move. It is flood land. The water comes from the hills and floods the plains, including the proposed dump site. Sometimes there are massive floods, the last one in 2006.
“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). We call on the federal government to withdraw the nomination of the site and to show more respect in future. We call on all South Australians − all Australians − to support us in our struggle. Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners and Viliwarinha Yura Aboriginal Corporation will fight the proposal for a nuclear waste dump on our land for as long as it takes to stop it.
“Last year I was awarded the SA Premier’s Natural Resource Management Award in the category of ‘Aboriginal Leadership − Female’ for working to protect land that is now being threatened with a nuclear waste dump. But Premier Jay Weatherill has been silent since the announcement of six short-listed dump sites last year. Now the Flinders Ranges has been chosen as the preferred site and Mr Weatherill must speak up. The Premier can either support us or he can support the federal government’s attack on us by maintaining his silence. He can’t sit on the fence.”
Adnyamathanha Traditional Owner Enice Marsh said:
“Vulnerable communities are suffering from lack of vision from our government and industry ‘leaders’ and should not be the government’s target for toxic waste dumps. This predatory behaviour is unethical and is an abuse of human rights. An Indigenous Protected Area is a Federal Government initiative, but it seems that in the case of Yappala this means nothing to the government. We ask you to honour this commitment to protect, not pollute and damage our land. This facility will cause immeasurable damage to the whole area which is covered with thousands of artefacts, home to people, animals, birds and reptiles. The building of this facility will cause widespread damage. It will scar the area and break the spiritual song-lines like never before in the 60000+ years of human occupation. We don’t want this waste in our country, it’s too toxic and long lived.”
Adnyamathanha Traditional Owner Jillian Marsh said:
“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. We challenge Minister Josh Frydenberg on his claim that this waste is just “gloves, goggles and test tubes” – the intermediate-level waste is much more toxic so why not talk about it? What about the damage to the area that construction of this site will cause? You can’t compensate the loss of people’s ancient culture with a few dollars."
Advocacy group protests against high-level nuclear waste dump in SA, saying it poses great health, environment and financial risks
16 May 2016
A NEW advocacy group will lobby against a high-level nuclear waste dump being built in SA.
The No Dump Alliance group launched on Monday and already has the support of several groups, including the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation, the Maritime Union of Australia and SA Aboriginal Congress.
The group formed after the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission earlier this month recommended the state urgently pursue the opportunity of a nuclear dump.
The No Dump Alliance believes the proposal shows a lack of respect for traditional owners, who opposed the dump and said it could pose significant health, environment and financial risks.
Candice Champion is a Adnyamathanha woman from the Flinders Ranges who said a nuclear storage facility could pose many risks to her community.
“As a young Adnyamathanha woman my family will be affected by this nuclear dump, which is bringing about a lot of anxiety and mental health issues to my family and community,” Ms Champion said.
“These places are of quality and significance to me and people continue to discount the Adnyamathanha voice which is frustrating and disheartening.
“We want to be able to invest in our future generations and be able to pass something over that is important and pristine, not something posing any risks.”
SA Aboriginal Congress chairman Tauto Sansbury said the group must have a united front and it was not just an “Aboriginal fight” to protect the land.
“This will be a united front to protect SA and make sure it continues to grow from other opportunities, apart from being the international dumping ground,” Mr Sansbury said.
“I believe we’re going to win this because this is not just about an Aboriginal fight ... it’s everyone’s fight.”
The State Government will use a jury of 350 randomly selected South Australians to make recommendations to it in November on whether to proceed with the plan for a nuclear waste dump.
The jury was part of a six-step process to unfold over the next seven months, culminating in a firm Government position being outlined to State Parliament.
Premier Jay Weatherill has previously stressed the project could not proceed without broad political and community support.