Media Release ‒ Friends of the Earth Australia ‒ 18 July 2023
The Federal Court has today quashed the declaration of a proposed nuclear waste dump site near Kimba in SA, citing ‘pre-judgement’ and ‘apprehended bias’. The court case was initiated by Barngarla Traditional Owners, who are unanimous in their opposition to the proposed nuclear dump.
Dr. Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, said:
“Today’s decision is an incredible victory for Barngarla Traditional Owners. Now Prime Minister Albanese must kill the nuclear dump plan stone dead.
“It is an outrage that the Albanese government has been attempting to impose a national nuclear waste dump on Barngarla country despite the unanimous opposition of the Traditional Owners.
“It is deeply hypocritical that the Albanese government has been championing a Voice to Parliament at the same time as it ignores and overrides the unanimous voice of the Barngarla Traditional Owners.”
Jane Stinson, Chair of the SA Parliament’s Environment, Resources and Development Committee, said last year: “In this day and age, when we’re talking about Voice, Treaty and Truth, we can’t just turn around and say, ‘Oh, well, those are our values but in this particular instance, we’re going to ignore the voice of Aboriginal people’. I think that’s just preposterous and it’s inconsistent with what most South Australians would think.”
Susan Close, now Deputy Premier of South Australia, said in 2019 that it was a “dreadful process from start to finish” that led to the nomination of the proposed Kimba dump site and that SA Labor is “utterly opposed” to the “appalling” process which led to Kimba being targeted.
Susan Close noted in 2020 statement, titled ‘Kimba site selection process flawed, waste dump plans must be scrapped’, that SA Labor “has committed to traditional owners having a right of veto over any nuclear waste sites, yet the federal government has shown no respect to the local Aboriginal people.”
Dr. Green continued:
“It is appalling that the Albanese government has been willing to violate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples while at the same time professing to support the Declaration.”
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that: “States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent.”
Dr. Green concluded:
“To date, the issue has been managed by federal resources minister Madeleine King. There appears to have been little or no input from caucus, Cabinet or the Prime Minister’s Office.
“Prime Minister Anthony Albanese needs to take control and declare that the rights of Barngarla Traditional Owners will be respected, today’s Federal Court decision will not be challenged, and the government will now abandon the plan to impose a nuclear waste dump on Barngarla country.
“Federal Labor should adopt SA Labor’s policy giving traditional owners a right of veto over proposed nuclear waste dump sites. That would give traditional owners across the country some confidence that their voices will be heard as the government progresses plans to store and dispose of waste arising from nuclear-powered submarines in the coming decades.”