Flinders Ranges Council confirms ballot dates for waste facility

Communities in Kimba and Hawker will vote on the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility before the end of the year.
Communities in Kimba and Hawker will vote on the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility before the end of the year.

Communities in the far north are one step closer to finding out if they will have a radioactive waste management facility in their backyard with ballot dates confirmed by both councils in contention.

Voting commences in the District Council of Kimba next week, while the Flinders Ranges Council have confirmed that it will hold a community ballot between November 11 and December 12.

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Surveys will be undertaken of businesses owners and neighbours living within a five kilometre radius of the boundaries of the three nominated sites.

National Radioactive Waste Management Taskforce General Manager Sam Chard welcomed the decision of the Federal Court allowing the ballots to proceed.

"What this means is that after more than two years of consultation, communities will have multiple ways in which they can have their say on the proposal," Ms Chard said.

'"Whether individuals are for or against the facility, we're confident the communities at the centre of the process are well informed.

"In addition to the ballots, anyone can have their say through the submissions process."

But the Australian Conservation Foundation's Dave Sweeney said the ballots are divisive and are raising tensions in otherwise cohesive communities.

"The ballot is important and essential obviously for communities in the affected areas to have a say and voice their opinion," he said.

"But this is not a decision just for Kimba or just for Hawker, it's a national radioactive waste management facility and the government has turned it into a bidding war or a how much are you prepared to fight struggle between two regional communities.

"What it is, what it should be, and what it needs to be is a national debate or a national consideration around what is the most responsible way to manage this material.

"The ballot and the government's entire approach has been divisive, unnecessarily divisive. They are consistently asking people to make decisions and take positions on the basis of completely insufficient evidence.

"You wouldn't buy a secondhand car on the basis of what we know about this project, yet they are asking communities to sign off yes or no about radioactive waste that will need to be managed for 10,000 years."