No NT nuclear waste dump!

June 30, 2007

Ninety people crowded into the Redfern Community Centre on June 25 to hear traditional owners, environmentalists and Aboriginal rights activists explain their concern about federal government plans to set up a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory. It was the last event of the "From the Heart, For the Heartland" national speaking tour.

Natalie Wasley of the Arid Lands Environment Centre and Beyond Nuclear Initiative told the meeting that a large campaign had stopped plans for a waste dump in South Australia. This forced the federal government into a desperate search for an alternative site before waste from the Lucas Heights reactor was returned to Australia in five years time, to avoid the embarrassment of the waste being returned to Sydney after promises that it would not be. NT was chosen because there are fewer legal avenues to challenge the plans than in the states.

Audrey McCormack, Arrernte woman and Athenge Lhere traditional owner from the Wherre Therre community, three kilometres from a proposed Mount Everard dump site, and Priscilla Williams, Arrernte woman from the Atitjere community, near the proposed Harts Range site, both expressed concerns about the contamination of food sources.

Diane Stokes, Warrumungu and Warlmanpa woman and Muckaty traditional owner from the Kalumpurlpa community, rejected the nomination by the Northern Land Council of the Muckaty Land Trust site: "People say we said yes, but we didn't say yes to it." She explained that community elders had rejected the plan when they realised the waste was poisonous, but they weren't listened to. Mitch, Eastern Arrernte and Luritja woman from the Engawala community, 18km from the Harts Range site, also spoke.

The tour's organisers have produced a booklet profiling the speakers, explaining the history of the campaign, and countering government misinformation about the issue. For more information about the campaign email Natalie at or phone (08) 8952 2011.

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