Protesters ramp up campaign against Muckaty Waste Dump

David Wood NT News February 24th, 2011

Territory anti-nuclear waste dump protesters have started a small but concerted campaign against new legislation expected to be presented to the Federal Senate next week.

The House of Representatives passed the Bill on Tuesday with Muckaty Station about 120km north of Tennant Creek the site most likely to be used for the dump.

"This just gives total and unfettered discretion to the Minister to put this thing wherever he thinks," he said.

The Greens want to establish a commission to look at alternative ways of dealing with the waste.

Labor Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon's spokeswoman Alice Plate said he voted for the legislation because "unlike the Howard Government law, this Radioactive Waste Management legislation will not impose a radioactive waste management facility on any community including in the Northern Territory.

"It is based on land being volunteered for consideration," she said.

"I'd prefer people didn't volunteer their land, but the Ngapa clan and the Full Council of the Northern Land Council have, and now this site is being considered.

"The legislation ensures the selected site will be subject to exhaustive environmental and nuclear regulatory assessment."

Both NT Chief Minister Paul Henderson and Member for Barkly Gerry McCarthy hit out at the legislation yesterday while Opposition Member for Port Darwin John Elferink sarcastically offered to support a motion of no confidence in Mr Snowdon during question time.

Ms Plate said Mr Snowdon previously opposed the Howard Government imposing a nuclear facility on the NT but the legislation has now changed to allow people to volunteer land.

Environment Centre NT spokeswoman Cat Beaton said about 75 people protested on the steps of NT Parliament yesterday and the Bill showed no respect for NT legislation designed to ban nuclear waste dumps in the Territory.

"A waste dump at Muckaty presents some real risks for Darwin as, radioactive waste will be shipped through the Darwin Port and along Darwin roads," she said.

"The Muckaty site didn't even make the short-list when environmental and scientific criteria were used to inform a preliminary site assessment study in the 1990s, now they want to build a dump there."

"Come Out and Camp with Us"
Traditional Owners Challenge Government to Meet Over Muckaty Waste Dump

Media Release

Muckaty Traditional Owners met outside the offices of the Northern Land Council in Tennant Creek today to protest the passing of the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill through the House of Representatives.

The protest coincided with a federal court mediation in Melbourne about the contested Muckaty site nomination, attended by Traditional Owner Mark Lane Jangala. The Traditional Owners resolved to continue fighting the proposed waste dump and reiterated calls for politicians and the NLC to come to Tennant Creek and meet with the community.

Janet Thompson said: "I'm so disappointed in the government not listening to Traditional Owners about the waste dump at Muckaty. We asked so many times for Martin Ferguson to come and listen to us but he just ignored our requests. We would like to see this still happen, to come and listen to the rightful Traditional Owners at Muckaty."

Penny Phillips added: "Minister Warren Snowdon should listen to us. We the people voted him in, elected him. They should listen to the people because we live here, not them. Our country is so beautiful and they want to come and destroy it."

"I reckon both Minister Martin Ferguson and Senator Trish Crossin should come to our country. They're gonna destroy this beautiful country. They should come out here and camp with us."

Dianne Stokes said "Are the government thinking that we're making our stories up for them? We're telling them the truth. We know the land. They don't know the country, they never walked the country. We challenge them to come show us where the sacred sites are. We want them to come and show us the dance. We want them to come now to tell us the story about the land. Think of the people on the ground, we are the ones who are the heartbroken people of our land."

Senior Traditional Owner Bunny Naparulla concluded: "We been fighting all those years for our land, but what we got - nothing! I don't want that nuclear waste in the land, my grandfather's land and my mother's land. We got the culture for it and the knowledge for the country. Five groups are there but they've been listening to one group. We don't want that nuclear waste in Muckaty, in Manuwangku, take it away!"

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact:
Lauren Mellor 0413 534 125 or Nat Wasley 0429 900 774


Outside the NT Parliament House
(Michael Cavanagh - ABC)

Traditional Owners angry at Muckaty decision

Caddie Brain ABC Rural 25th February, 2011

Mediation proceedings begin today in the court challenge over the nomination of Muckaty station as the proposed site for a nuclear waste dump facility.

Traditional Owners have reaffirmed their opposition to the facility claiming that the government failed to consult all traditional owner groups.

This comes after legislation enabling the facility to be built at Muckaty, passed through the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Dianne Stokes Nampin, a traditional landowner of Muckaty station, says that the consultation wasn't with the correct owners.
"Every Traditional Owner knew about the waste dump coming to our land. Everyone knew that it was going to happen.

"Everyone knew that the wrong people gave permission to have that land destroyed by these government people who weren't listening to the main Traditional Owners.

"They should have, at least, come and sat with us and talked with us."

Member for Lingiari Warren Snowden spoke earlier this week on ABC Radio in Darwin.

"They (Traditional Owners) can dispute the Northern Land Council's decision making process, that is their right.

"I am not going to comment on the merits or otherwise of the case but if the court comes down on their side, then the Commonwealth will respect the decision."