Waste dump poll approved
Some SA residents will soon be polled about their views on a nuclear waste dump.
The Kimba community on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula is being asked for its support for the construction of a nuclear waste facility to bring together the nation’s waste into a single site.
The local council will post out ballots this week, asking locals if they back having the planned National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at one of two nominated sites in the region.
The vote is allowed to proceed after the Federal Court on Friday rejected a bid by the Barngarla people to stop it going ahead.
The Barngarla hold rights over much of the region, and say the poll is unlawful because it excludes native title holders.
The two sites near Kimba and a third near the Flinders Ranges town of Hawker have been short-listed as potential locations for the low-level radioactive waste storage facility.
Business owners and residents within a five-kilometre radius of the three nominated sites will be surveyed.
The Barngarla argued in court that their exclusion from the Kimba ballot is based on their Aboriginality, but Justice Richard White has ruled that the council's actions do not contravene racial discrimination laws.
“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,” National Radioactive Waste Management Taskforce general manager Sam Chard said.
“Whether individuals are for or against the facility, we're confident the communities at the centre of the process are well informed.”
The Kimba council said with legal impediments removed, it would push ahead with the ballot.
“Council's position has always been to facilitate the ballot on behalf of the minister for resources and northern Australia so our community could have its voice heard,” Mayor Dean Johnson said.
Early signals suggest support for the nuclear waste facility is mixed.
Jeff Baldock nominated his Kimba farm as a possible site, and says the project is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure Kimba's future”.