Nuclear vote stalled

DELAY: Kimba's vote on the government's nuclear waste facility has been stalled by a court injunction.
DELAY: Kimba's vote on the government's nuclear waste facility has been stalled by a court injunction.

An injunction granted by the Supreme Court of South Australia has stalled a community vote on the federal government’s proposed Nuclear Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

The Barngarla people applied for the injunction, arguing that the ballot was discriminatory because native title holders living outside the boundaries of the Kimba District Council were not able to vote.

Kimba is one of two short-listed sites for the government’s waste management facility, with Hawker also in the mix. Kimba’s vote was scheduled for August 20.

The Hawker community will vote on the facility next week.

A spokesperson said the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science had spoken with local councils, and agreed to suspend the proposed ballots for Kimba and Wallerberinda Station until the matter was resolved.

“The department will continue to work to ensure the views of the community, including Traditional Owners, are heard, and a decision on the nominated sites is made this year,” they said.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young called for the Hawker vote to be delayed until the Barngarla court battle had concluded.

“The community vote in Hawker and Kimba should run at the same time, and until the Barngarla challenge has concluded, the Hawker vote must be delayed,” she said.

“I congratulate the Barngarla people who have taken this fight on and clearing the first hurdle to getting their say in this toxic debate. The injunction is a win for democracy and a win for decency.”

The injunction comes as FOI documents obtained by Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick show that the government considered Commonwealth-owned land parcels  as potential sites for the waste facility.

Senator Patrick said he had written to Resources Minister Matt Canavan asking him to provide him with details of the sites considered.

“It staggers me, in a process that the Minister claims to be open and transparent, that this important aspect of site selection process has not been made public,” he said.

“Why has the analysis and any decisions associated with potential Commonwealth sites not been made public?”