National waste dump: Aboriginal groups share support as ballot closure approaches

Adnyamathanha Elder and spokesperson for the Annggumathanha Camp Law Mob Enice Marsh (centre) attended an anti-nuclear rally in Port Augusta last month.
Adnyamathanha Elder and spokesperson for the Annggumathanha Camp Law Mob Enice Marsh (centre) attended an anti-nuclear rally in Port Augusta last month.

The fate of two outback communities at the centre of the federal government's nuclear waste management facility could be determined before the end of the year.

A three year consultation clouded in controversy will come to a close on December 12 with the completion of a community vote in Hawker.

This follows a recent ballot on the proposed site near Kimba, which returned last month with majority of the community (61.58 per cent) voting in support of a national waste dump.

General Manager of the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce Sam Chard said the government has been working to 'hear the views of all interested parties including local residents, neighbours, business owners, Traditional Owners and the broader community'.

A sentiment that Adnyamathanha Elder Enice Marsh strongly refutes.

The Wallerberdina Station site has been opposed by the traditional owners, the Adnyamathanha people, for cultural reasons.

The Seven Sisters songline, one of the most significant creation tracks throughout Australia, runs nearby this site.

"We remain suspicious and frustrated by this flawed process of consultation, and we remain unwilling to support a nuclear waste dump on our country," Ms Marsh said.

"Under our cultural law of the land it is our duty of care to care for the land, yet we feel we are being forced into accepting this poison.

"We ask all Australians to stand with us and end this flawed process of consultation. No more one-sided discussions, no more half-truths about the danger, no more secret deals behind closed doors."

Speaking on behalf of the Annggumathanha Camp Law Mob, Ms Marsh said the federal government's decision to exclude the Barngarla Traditional Owners from the Kimba community vote was another blow to First Nations people.

The proposal had been opposed by the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation, who battled with the federal government in a series of court proceedings.

"We give our heartfelt support to the Barngala Custodians of the Kimba region, we admire their courage and and hope they succeed in their quest to have their voices heard," Ms Marsh said.

"The independent ballot conducted by Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation once more highlights the flawed process used by federal government."