Labor's appalling Christmas present for Muckaty

Radioactive waste bill is flawed: Greens

ABC News Dec 23, 2010

A parliamentary committee has recommended the Government pass the legislation, which could see a national nuclear waste storage facility built at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory.

Greens MP Adam Bandt was on the committee but says his party has filed a dissenting report.

Mr Bandt says there were no public hearings and no consultation with nearby traditional owners, some of whom are campaigning against the facility.

"The majority report really is a whitewash. They had the opportunity to take evidence and really talk those to be affected by this waste dump. They decided not to do that," he said.

"A foundational element has to be that you don't start doing this against the wishes of the people who live there, and that's exactly what's going on.

"There's no amount of finessing and reporting that can overcome that fundamental point."

Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation agrees and says the legislation will strip rights from Territory residents.

"It was a closed, secretive, rushed process to deliver a result to advance Minister Ferguson's dump," he said.

pdfAdvisory report on the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2010 pdf file

Nuclear waste dump report a whitewash: Greens


Martin Ferguon's Xmas
Present for Muckaty

The Greens 22nd December 2010

The Australian Greens have condemned the Parliamentary investigation of the proposed Muckaty Station nuclear waste dump as a whitewash.

After the House of Representative's Climate Change, Environment and the Arts Standing Committee's report on the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2010 was tabled today, Greens MP Adam Bandt said that the committee refused to hear from the public or the area's Aboriginal traditional owners.

"This is Martin Ferguson's appalling Christmas present for the people of Muckaty," Mr Bandt said.

"A previous Senate committee report asked the Minister for Energy and Resources, Martin Ferguson, to meet with traditional owners. The traditional owners of the proposed waste dump site, Muckaty Station, have also written to him requesting that he meet with them", Mr Bandt said.

"Martin Ferguson has ignored them. Instead of asking why or inviting the traditional owners to appear before the committee, the House committee chose not to receive any public submissions or any new information" Mr Bandt said.

"The government is pushing through Parliament legislation that will suspend other protective social and environmental laws and override the wishes of the traditional owners."

Mr Bandt was a participating member of the Committee and gave a dissenting report. Mr Bandt said it was interesting that the report was tabled while parliament was not sitting, just three days before Christmas.

Greens Senator Ludlam has a private members bill in the Senate to repeal the Howard-era radioactive waste management legislation completely, while the Government is seeking to replace the current Act with the almost-identical National Radioactive Waste Management Bill.

Comments

waste dump

thanks to all trying to stop those tricksters selling this land & dumping it's future.
but dumping nuclear waste that needs containment for hundreds of thousands of years is way more criminal than just a white-wash...

Greens cynical about radioactive report

Andrea Hayward (AAP) Sydney Morning Herald December 22, 2010

Conservationists and the Australian Greens are cynical about the timing of a report giving the thumbs up for draft laws to establish a radioactive waste dump.

Energy Minister Martin Ferguson introduced the draft laws to parliament earlier this year, saying they would ensure the safe management of medical, industrial and research radioactive material.

A lower house committee was formed to examine the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2010 and tabled its report on Wednesday, recommending they be passed.

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The laws would allow a site to be established anywhere in Australia rather than just the Northern Territory, overriding state and territory laws.

Muckaty Station, near Tennant Creek, is one of the sites the federal government has considered after it was volunteered by a branch of the Ngapa tribe in 2007.

But traditional owners of the site have taken their fight against the waste dump to the Federal Court.

The Australian Greens have described the process as a whitewash.

Greens MP Adam Bandt said the lower house committee had refused to hear from the public or the area's traditional owners.

The committee's report says the issue has been the subject of earlier inquiries, including a Senate committee, and there have been opportunities for comment in those hearings.

"This is Martin Ferguson's appalling Christmas present for the people of Muckaty," Mr Bandt said.

The radioactive waste is now stored in suburban and regional areas across the nation under less than ideal management regimes, according to Mr Ferguson.

About 4000 cubic metres of low-level and shortlived intermediate-level radioactive waste has accumulated in Australia in the past 50 years.

Mr Bandt said the report asked Mr Ferguson to meet the traditional owners - but so far he hadn't.

"The traditional owners of the proposed waste dump site, Muckaty Station, have also written to him requesting that he meet with them," Mr Bandt said.

"Martin Ferguson has ignored them.

"Instead of asking why or inviting the traditional owners to appear before the committee, the house committee chose not to receive any public submissions or any new information."

The draft laws would override the wishes of traditional owners, said Mr Bandt who, as a member of the committee, gave a dissenting report.

He said it was interesting the report was tabled while parliament was not sitting and just three days before Christmas.

Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman Dave Sweeney said the committee process was a quick and dirty attempt to solve a long and dirty problem.

"The timing appears a cynical attempt to further avoid public scrutiny as the inquiry was not required to report until late March 2011," Mr Sweeney said.

"There is no reasonable rationale for putting out this report three days before Christmas, especially given that the Federal Court is set to consider this issue in January."

The proposed law would remove appeal rights from the Muckaty people, suspend key indigenous and environmental protection, and override all commonwealth, state and territory laws that could delay or frustrate the opening of a waste dump, Mr Sweeney said.

"It is not based on good science and does not follow a robust, open, transparent process.

"The federal government should stop pushing the contested Muckaty dump plan and establish an independent and public review of nuclear waste management options based on best science, transparent process and community inclusion and consent."

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