Nuclear protesters raise their voices

RALLY: 1500 people gathered at Parliament House in Adelaide to protest against the national radioactive waste management facility. PHOTO: Don't Dump on SA.
RALLY: 1500 people gathered at Parliament House in Adelaide to protest against the national radioactive waste management facility. PHOTO: Don't Dump on SA.

About 1500 people congregated at the steps of Parliament House in Adelaide to let the government know that they still oppose nuclear waste.

Protesters travelled from the Eyre Peninsula and the Flinders Ranges to join other South Australians on Saturday, November 3 at the rally organised by Don’t Dump on SA.

The selection of the national radioactive waste management facility was recently delayed, with the Federal Court set to hear the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation v District Council of Kimba case in January 2019.

Federal government had initially planned to make a decision on the facility by the end of the year.

The protest aimed to deliver a message to federal government to abandon the site selection process and to the South Australian government to uphold the state legislation that makes radioactive waste facilities illegal.

"We want the government to take all sites in SA off the table and to hold a full independent inquiry into the best way to manage our most dangerous waste,” Mara Bonacci from Don’t Dump on SA said. 

“The government must stop targeting remote and regional areas and give Aboriginal people a right of veto for proposals that threaten their country and culture.”

Two sites in Kimba and one site at Wallerberdina Station near Hawker have been nominated to host the facility.

Among the many speakers at the Parliament House rally was Adnyamathanha man Dwayne Coulthard, who described the selection process as “cultural genocide”.

“We have had enough of being ignored. No radioactive waste dump on Adnyamathanha country in the Flinders Ranges. No waste dump in Kimba,” Mr Coulthard said.

Other speakers at the rally included state Member for Giles Eddie Hughes, SA Unions President Jamie Newlyn and federal Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Community members from both Kimba and the Flinders Ranges gathered in Port Augusta in August to march across the Joy Baluch AM Bridge in protest against the proposed nuclear facility.

A spokesperson for the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science acknowledged the divided opinions regarding the facility, but said international best practice would be to consolidate Australian radioactive waste into a “single, safe, job-creating facility”.

“The reason we are consulting with communities near Hawker, Quorn and Kimba about a national radioactive waste management facility is landowners there volunteered their land, and communities told us they want to have the conversation about this potential new industry,” the spokesperson said.

“That said, we acknowledge that there are strongly held views for and against the proposal, and are consulting in good faith with all parties.

“The department remains focused on giving the two South Australian communities, who have been involved in this process for more than two years, the opportunity to have their say on the sites.”

PROTEST: Members of the rally listened to speeches and watched performances at Parliament House on Saturday, November 3. PHOTO: Don't Dump on SA.

PROTEST: Members of the rally listened to speeches and watched performances at Parliament House on Saturday, November 3. PHOTO: Don't Dump on SA.