The plan to turn South Australia into the world’s nuclear waste dump has lost momentum since 2016 though it continues to be promoted by some politicians, the Business SA lobby group, and an assortment of individuals and lobbyists including self-styled ‘pro-nuclear environmentalists’ or ‘ecomodernists’. In its 2016 report, the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission established by the state government promoted a plan to import 138,000 tonnes of high-level nuclear waste (about one-third of the world’s total) and 390,000 cubic metres of intermediate-level waste. The state Labor government then spent millions on a state-wide promotional campaign under the guide of consultation. The government also initiated a Citizens’ Jury process. However two-thirds of the 350-member Citizens’ Jury rejected the waste import proposal “under any circumstances” in their November 2016 report. The Jury’s verdict was non-binding but it took the wind out of the dumpsters’ sails. A key factor in the Jury’s rejection of the waste import plan was that Aboriginal people had spoken clearly in opposition. The Jury’s report said: “There is a lack of aboriginal consent. We believe that the government should accept that the Elders have said NO and stop ignoring their opinions. The aboriginal people of South Australia (and Australia) continue to be neglected and ignored by all levels of government instead of respected and treated as equals.” The respect shown by the Citizens’ Jury to Aboriginal Traditional Owners had been conspicuously absent in the debate until then. The SA government’s handling of the Royal Commission process systematically disenfranchised Aboriginal people.
Online Opinion 3rd July 2018 read more »