Senate passes National Radioactive Waste Management Bill

Parliament (sic -Songlines) approves waste dump at Muckaty
Julian Drape
March 13, 2012 – 7:49PM


Traditional owners and environmental groups have vowed to continue fighting the federal government’s plan to store radioactive waste at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory.

The Senate passed legislation on Tuesday that paves the way for medical, research and industrial waste to be stored at the site near Tennant Creek for hundreds of years.

Resources Minister Martin Ferguson says the bill ensures Australia meets its international obligations to properly manage its nuclear waste in a purpose-built dump.

Muckaty Station was nominated by the Northern Land Council in 2007. But since then several traditional owners have argued they were not properly consulted and did not give their consent.

That dispute is before the Federal Court.

Traditional owner Lorna Fejo says she remains opposed to the dump despite the passage of the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2010.

“It’s our land and we are going to continue fighting for it,” she said in a statement.

“It’s my heritage and no one has the right to take that away from us.”

Mr Ferguson said on Tuesday the government would not proceed with the dump “until this matter is resolved by the court”.

The Greens did have one minor victory on Tuesday when they secured support for a change to the legislation that bans the storage of international waste at Muckaty.

The coalition also successfully moved an amendment that requires states and territories to pay a so-called capital contribution fee if they wish to store waste at the dump.

The National Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2010 now goes back to the lower house for a final tick of approval.

© 2012 AAP

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