from ABC Darwin
“NT nuclear waste dump faces legal challenge
By Jane Bardon and Gina Marich
Updated June 3, 2010
A legal challenge to the Federal Government’s plan to establish a national nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory has been taken to the Federal Court.
The Commonwealth has signed a deal with some traditional owners for land at Muckaty Station, north of Tennant Creek, to be used for the dump.
George Newhouse is part of the legal team for a different group of traditional owners who say they were not consulted on the site’s nomination.
Mr Newhouse says his clients do not want compensation but for the nomination of the site to be withdrawn.
“This isn’t about compensation at all,” he said.
“This is about the fact that the Northern Land Council has nominated traditional Aboriginal land for a nuclear waste dump without the consent of the traditional owners.”
Mr Newhouse says the traditional owners hope to argue that the deal is invalid because they did not consent to it.
“They’re the people who’ve had a deep spiritual association with the land,” he said.
“And it comes directly from their mouths as well as the Land Commissioner’s report which is publicly available and clearly states that there’s overlapping control over Muckaty Station.”
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam says the five families who are challenging the decision have rights to the land but were not consulted about the nomination.
“We think this legal action, it’s regrettable that the traditional owners feel that they’ve had to take it this far, but we certainly welcome it,” he said.
“And we think that this will have political consequences right across Australia leading into the federal election campaign.”