Oppose nuclear dump

For some time NT activists have been opposed to a Nuclear dump.
I was informed about this struggle in a 2007 DVD by Tara Jones
“Nowhere here in the middle”. She interviews the aboriginal people affected.

She interviews Dr Helen Caldicott:

“Its supreme scientific arrogance to say that we’ll find a way to store radioactive waste safely for 1/4 million nyears, let alone 1/2 million years.”

Minister Ferguson is going ahead despite the nomination of the Muckaty site is highly contested. The Senate is now receiving submissions.

It is essential that the Senate Committee pay due respects to the Traditional Owners by travelling to Tennant Creek to take evidence from them directly.

The nomination of the Muckaty site by the Northern Land Council was highly controversial and is strongly contested by many Traditional Owners.

Resouces Minister Martin Ferguson claims that Ngapa Traditional Owners support the nomination of the Muckaty site but he knows that many Ngapa Traditional Owners oppose the dump — as well as numerous requests for meetings, he received a letter opposing the dump in May 2009 signed by 25 Ngapa Traditional Owners and 32 Traditional Owners from other Muckaty groups.

Mr Ferguson is also aware of the unanimous resolution passed by the NT Labor Conference in April 2008 which called on the Federal Government to exclude Muckaty on the grounds that the nomination “was not made with the full and informed consent of all Traditional Owners and affected people and as such does not comply with the Aboriginal Land Rights Act”.

Mr Ferguson also knows that fellow Ministers Jenny Macklin, Kim Carr, Peter Garrett and Warren Snowdon among others have acknowledged the distress and opposition of many Muckaty Traditional Owners.

“All along we have said we don’t want this dump on our land but we have been ignored. Martin Ferguson has avoided us and ignored our letters but he knows very well how we feel. He has been arrogant and secretive and he thinks he has gotten away with his plan but in fact he has a big fight on his hands.” –

– Muckaty Traditional Owner Dianne Stokes

This bill is highly coercive

Section 11 of the bill explicitly overrides any state or territory laws that would hinder site selection.

Section 12 then eliminates Aboriginal interests (the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984) and environmental interests (the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) from the process of choosing a site.

Section 13 eliminates the property rights of any individual unlucky enough to be in the path of the dump or its access corridors.

Once a site is chosen, it will be assessed under commonwealth environmental legislation which has almost no mechanisms for preventing the project from going ahead.

All discretion in the hands of the Minister.

The Bill places enormous power in the hands of the Minister to assess whether or not the Muckaty site should go ahead. No information is given to how this assessment will be carried out, and the bill makes it clear that local people have no right of appeal.

The case for a remote dump has never been made.

Nuclear waste should be moved as little as possible, and should be stored above ground close to the point of production, close to centres of nuclear expertise and infrastructure.

The Lucas Heights nuclear agency ANSTO is by far the biggest single source of the waste, and all the relevant organisations have acknowledged that ongoing waste storage at Lucas Heights is a viable option — the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, the Australian Nuclear Association and even Mr Ferguson’s own department. Additionally, requiring ANSTO to store its own waste is the best — and perhaps the only — way of focussing the Organisation’s collective mind on the importance of waste minimisation principles.

Any site selection process ought to be based on scientific and environmental siting criteria, as well as on the principle of voluntarism.

In 2005, the Howard government chose the NT, and ruled out NSW, for purely political reasons.

When the federal Bureau of Resource Sciences conducted a national repository site selection study in the 1990s, informed by scientific, environmental and social criteria, the Muckaty area did not even make the short-list as a “suitable” site.

Jim Green B.Med.Sci.(Hons.), PhD
National nuclear campaigner – Friends of the Earth, Australi

Please consider making a submission to this important Senate Inquiry concerning plans for a national nuclear waste dump at Muckaty in the NT.

Make your voice heard on the nuclear waste dump!

The Federal Government has finally announced that it will repeal the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act. But resources minister Martin Ferguson’s replacement legislation – the National Radiaoctive Waste Management Bill (NRWMB) – is as coercive and unfair as the bill it replaces.

The NRWMB leaves Muckaty, north of Tennant Creek in the NT, as the only site that will be initially considered under he NRWMB despite widespread opposition and a flawed, secretive nomination process for the Muckaty site.

Please make a submission to a Senate Inquiry on the proposed legislation and email it on or before MONDAY MARCH 15, 2010. That’s NEXT MONDAY

Send your submission:
By email: legcon.sen@aph.gov.au
By post: Julie Dennett, Committee Secretary, Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee, PO Box 6100, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, 2600.

More information:

Senate Inquiry (including a link to the text of the NRWM Bill, explanatory memorandum, etc):

Muckaty Traditional Owners, submissions 95 and 95a to the 2008 Senate Inquiry:

Beyond Nuclear Initiative:

Senator Scott Ludlam:

Friends of the Earth

right to strike on the environment


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