Nuclear dump ballot opens in Hawker

Voting in Hawker opened this week and will close on December 12.
Voting in Hawker opened this week and will close on December 12.

Residents in Hawker will finally have their say on the federal government's proposal to house a nuclear waste management facility in their backyard, with voting open this week.

This ballot follows a similar vote held in Kimba which recently returned with a clear majority of residents in support of a nuclear waste dump being built in their region.

The Australia Electoral Commission sent out 745 ballot papers with the question, "do you support the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility being located at one of the nominated sites in the community of Kimba?"

The ballot returned last week with 452 yes votes (61.58 per cent) and 282 no votes (38.42 per cent).

Federal Minister for Resources senator Matt Canavan said the results showed a "clear level of support" for the proposal from "eligible participants.".

Greg Bannon, a spokesman for the Flinders Local Action Group, has been opposed to the project since Wallerberdina was named as one of six shortlisted sites in November 2015.

Mr Bannon said he was disappointed by the result of the Kimba ballot.

"Personally I would have to say yes, I'm disappointed. In actual fact, the Kimba 'No' vote is only 12 votes below what their last AEC vote was," he said.

"The percentages have changed a bit, because, despite the picture painted of dying towns, there are more people voting in Kimba this time. It is still roughly 60/40 and that falls short of 'broad community support'."

Mr Bannon doesn't think the Kimba result reflects the attitude of those in the Flinders Ranges.

"This process has been going on for a four years now and I think most people have decided how they want to vote," he said.

"I think the community is sick and tired of the whole thing and want it over. It is not compulsory to vote and my worry is that some people may simply ignore it and not vote. A strong voter turn-out would give the clearest indication of the community's sentiment."

A decision on whether the facility will proceed in Kimba will not be made until December at the conclusion of the consultation process and ballot for communities near Wallerberdina Station.

If one or both of the communities vote yes, Mr Canavan could name the final site by the end of the year.

"I will consider these results alongside other indicators of community support and technical information about the site, once the Flinders Ranges Council ballot is complete later this year," he said.

"Other indicators of community sentiment include results from neighbour and local business surveys which will be undertaken over November and December, and submissions, which remain open to anyone with an interest, no matter where they live."