Call for independent National Commission – radioactive waste management

Beyond Nuclear Initiative
Media Release
September 5, 2013

Dump under the pump: Pressure grows against Muckaty radioactive waste plan.

Territory trade unions, medico’s and environmentalists have been joined by their national counterparts in a call to end a planned radioactive waste dump in the NT.

The groups have placed an advertisement (attached) in the Tennant and District Times today to highlight their concerns over federal plans to dump radioactive waste on Aboriginal land at Muckaty, north of Tennant Creek and their commitment to continuing campaigning on the dump plan after this Saturday’s federal election.

Australia’s peak trade union body the ACTU has joined Unions NT, Public Health Association of Australia, Medical Association for the Prevention of War and national and NT environmental organisations in the call to dump the dump.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said unions had adopted a policy at last year’s ACTU Congress to oppose a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory. “We stand in solidarity with the traditional owners and communities and with environmental groups resisting federal government plans for a radioactive waste dump,” she said.

“We reject any legislation which would continue to target a site on the Muckaty Land Trust or any other site in Australia, for a nuclear waste dump that is not based on recognised science and international best practices.”

Traditional Owners taking legal action against the dump plan have urged all political parties to halt the plan until the Federal Court has considered key issues of ownership, consultation and consent.

The groups placing the ad are calling for an independent National Commission to advance responsible radioactive waste management in Australia – an approach that has been widely used internationally, but never adopted in Australia.

“After decades of targeting remote sites there has been little progress made. A Commission would consider all options of management and give all stakeholders a chance to input,” said the ECNT’s Lauren Mellor. It is time for politicians to come clean on where they stand in relation to this dirty dump plan-Territorians have a right to know where their federal candidates stand on this issue.”