Flinders Ranges and Kimba unite against nuclear waste

NUCLEAR: Flinders Ranges and Kimba residents held a meeting at the Standpipe.
NUCLEAR: Flinders Ranges and Kimba residents held a meeting at the Standpipe.

Community members from Kimba and the Flinders Ranges gathered at the Standpipe Golf Motor Inn to stand together against the proposed national radioactive waste management facility.

Representatives from the Flinders Local Action Group and the No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA group, as well as Adnyamathanha community members, made their opinions well known at the recent meeting.

The meeting came after federal Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan visited the region to announce that a postal ballot would commence on August 20 to measure the community support for the three nominated sites.

Locals from Kimba, Hawker, Whyalla and Quorn voiced their strong disapproval of the three sites – one at Wallerberdina Station near Hawker and two in Kimba.

Barry Wakelin, the former federal Member for Grey, attended the meeting and called for a revised approach by government.

“This is a national issue, not something that a regional community should be left to deal with,” he said.

“The current federal plan lacks evidence and poses a threat to our existing industries – we need a better way.

“This has been a productive meeting and it is heartening to see regional South Australians stepping up to the challenge, taking action and working together.”

The groups have vowed to increase efforts in fighting to stop the proposed facility by highlighting community concern ahead of the August vote.

Community members raised concerns about a number of issues, including inadequate consultation and information, and the lack of detail about managing intermediate level waste.

Those in attendance also discussed the division and stress caused in both Kimba and the Flinders Ranges as a result of being targeted with a “national burden”.

Mr Canavan stated during his visit to the region that the project would not go ahead without community approval, but community members said the federal Minister is yet to define what constitutes ‘broad community support’.

Peter Woolford from Kimba said the federal process is failing the communities.

“Minister Canavan is fast-tracking a plan that does not have broad community support,” he said.

Adnyamathanha women Aunty Heather Stuart and Lavene Ngatokorua spoke about the strong level of opposition among many traditional land owners.

The women said the threat to cultural heritage sites has caused stress and pressure in their community.

FLAG and Adelaide-based Don’t Dump on SA held a protest on the Princes Highway against the proposed facility in March.