LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – One of Australia’s six sites proposed for a nuclear waste facility is about 80km south-east of Alice Springs, a date farm known as Hale. Low to intermediate level radioactive waste would be stored there.
The concern around this site relates to my family’s inability to veto the proposed site because the area is freehold land, and not under native title or land rights.
The date farm owner, Tim Micklem, who I understand will be selling his property for four times the market value if his nomination is successful, did not notify traditional owners of his intention to nominate his land although the majority of my family live on the Mpwelarre Land Trust, only seven kilometers from his property.
Traditional owners are outraged, but unlike the Muckaty case, these people will not receive a cent in compensation, community benefits or any other funds whatsoever.
The Federal Government has committed to $10m which will be paid to the Northern Territory Government. There are no further details regarding how this money will be allocated.
My family lives on remote outstations and is in desperate need of infrastructure, government resources and services. But it seems they will not receive any financial support whatsoever through this proposal.
The idea of dumping nuclear waste on the traditional homelands of my elders has caused them great distress. Our homelands are a place of healing. If we harm our country, we will harm ourselves.
It is our responsibility to keep our homelands clean and we have maintained our cultural obligations for centuries. We simply cannot allow this proposal to go ahead.
Consultation with officials from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation started last week.
They will be returning in mid-December to consult community members in Titjikala (December 14) and Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa, December 15). As our family extends throughout these regions, I expect an abundance of community resistance and opposition to the proposal and we are requesting coverage by most media organisations at this time also.
Community support is a key component in the selection criteria for the site. Basically, the government will choose a site with little community opposition – therefore it is in our best interests to get the word out and rally as much support as we can to oppose this nomination.
According to a Greenpeace media release, 25 tonnes of Australian intermediate level radioactive waste sent to France for reprocessing will return to Australia today.
PHOTOS: Robert LeRossignol processing oil from the olive grove on his family’s land, near the proposed site of a nuclear dump • Mary LeRossignol • Son Craig with French tourists in 2009 •
LETTER TO THE EDITOR