Call to end Muckaty as proposed nuclear waste facility site

Media release | March 13, 2014

Renewed call for Muckaty dump plan to be scrapped as ‘draconian’ nuclear waste legislation hits two-year mark.

Marking two years since passage of the National Radioactive Waste Management Act (NRWMA), Traditional Owners and supporters have renewed calls for the government to drop plans for locating the first national radioactive waste dump at Muckaty, 120km north of Tennant Creek in the NT.

Beyond Nuclear Initiative convenor Natalie Wasley said, “The National Radioactive Waste Management Act is draconian and gives the Minister absolute discretion in key aspects of radioactive waste management. It overrides any state or territory law that would ‘hinder’ the plan, and limits the application of environmental protection laws, Aboriginal heritage protection legislation, and appeal rights. It does not grant ‘procedural fairness’ in relation to the existing Muckaty nomination.”

“Radioactive waste management laws should require engagement with civil society stakeholders in line with international standards. Australia’s targeting of remote communities considered politicially expedient through application of draconian legislation like the NRWMA is an international embarrassment.”

Traditional Owner Penny Phillips said “

We had very hurt feelings when the legislation passed the Senate two years ago. We had been saying no for a long time- my old aunty Bunny Nabarula cried her heart out. People are upset that the new government is pushing ahead, but we are not going to stop fighting. We want the government to put a full stop to the nomination.”

“If the Northern Land Council prepares another nomination on Muckaty then we will stand up to them again. This country is very important to us. We also want people to remember the transport accidents that have happened on the road and rail in the NT. If the waste travels a long way, then any of those areas could be affected.”

Ms Wasley added, “Muckaty is the only site currently under consideration but the community is not being left to fight the proposal themselves. The Public Health Association of Australia, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and other national groups are calling for the proposal to be dropped in favour of an independent Commission to examine all options radioactive waste management. A federal court trial challenging the site nomination will be heard throughout June.” added Ms Wasley.

Ms Phillips concluded “

Minister MacFarlane said he will visit Tennant Creek and meet with us. It is time for him to see the country and learn why we are saying no. People are getting tired, especially the old people, but we all work together and we haven’t backed down, we are still strong against it and will keep going until the Muckaty plan is stopped.”

Beyond Nuclear Initiative
www.beyondnuclearinitiative.com

Note on legal proceedings: The federal court challenge to the nomination of the Muckaty site will be heard throughout June 2014. The next directions hearing is scheduled for March 28 in the Victorian Federal Court.