State government urged to block nuclear facility

ENVIRONMENT: Australian Conservation Foundation Nuclear Free Campaigner Dave Sweeney holds the petition presented to state government with over 10,000 signatures. PHOTO: ACF.
ENVIRONMENT: Australian Conservation Foundation Nuclear Free Campaigner Dave Sweeney holds the petition presented to state government with over 10,000 signatures. PHOTO: ACF.

A petition calling on the state government to block the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility has attracted over 10,000 signatures.

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) submitted the petition to state Member for Stuart Dan van Holst Pellekaan at a recent meeting.

While the facility is a federal government matter, the petition urges the Marshall Liberal government to “defend and uphold” the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000.

The act was established to “protect the health, safety and welfare” of South Australians by prohibiting nuclear waste storage facilities in the state.

ACF Nuclear Free Campaigner Dave Sweeney urged Premier Steven Marshall to “stand up, honour and represent the state” by opposing the national facility.

“We wanted the South Australian government to know that there’s strong support and an expectation that they will respect and reflect about the existing Waste Prohibition Act,” Mr Sweeney said.

Wallerberdina Station near Hawker is one of three nominated sites for the national facility, with the other two both based in Kimba.

The selection process is coming to the pointy end, with a postal ballot commencing on August 20 to measure the community support for the three nominated sites.

Representatives from ACF, Conservation Council SA and the Adnyamathanha community attended the meeting with Mr van Holst Pellekaan.

Mr Sweeney described the sit-down as “constructive and respectful”, giving the groups an opportunity to present their concerns to the MP.

“This is being presented by the federal government as if it’s a local economic development issue, but it is Australia’s first ever purpose-built national radioactive waste dump,” he said. 

“What it would receive is materials, some of which needs to be isolated and managed for 10,000 years. It is a national responsibility that has long-lasting implications that need a national approach, so we conveyed that to Dan and he understood that.

“We also conveyed our concerns about the process, how divisive it has been and how much stress it has caused on communities.”

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said he has spoken with federal Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan about local concerns regarding the facility.

“As a local MP, I believe it is important to meet with many people with a wide range of views on this topic and have been doing exactly that,” he said.

“I’ve had regular contact with federal Minister Canavan, have shared the opinions of our local people with him and will continue to do so.”

Mr van Holst Pellekaan confirmed the petition has been passed on to the Premier as promised at the meeting.