Tuesday’s decision by the High Court to strike down the Federal Government’s decision to build the nation’s low-level radioactive waste repository at Kimba is a huge setback for the community according to Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey.
“This decision endangers our nuclear medical industry and undermines previous High Court affirmation decisions determining that Freehold Title extinguishes Native Title and should be challenged in the High Court by the Government,” he said.
“Tuesday’s decision by Justice Natalie Charlesworth is by any assessment extremely adventurous, and if nothing else, for the sake of security of land title in Australia, should be challenged immediately by the Federal Government.
“The Federal Government was never required to seek permission outside the norm (council, State Government, EPA etc) for this facility, but committed in any case not to place the facility in a community that did not want it.
“Consequently it (the former Government) undertook a nationwide nomination process and ran a number of surverys and plebiscites to finally select one site.
“Justice Charlesworth has determined the Minister was biased in this process and I am astonished she could make this finding.
“In one adventurous ruling, Justice Charlesworth has made a decision which calls into question the integrity of every Freehold Title in the land.
“Whether a householder wanting to put up a garage, an aged-care provider building a new nursing home or a council putting in a new football oval, previously if it were on Freehold Title we would have said the owner had the right to do so.
“Now, who knows?”
Mr Ramsey said the Federal Government is responsible for providing a regulatory framework for our radioactive medical isotope industry to exist in.
“To do so, they appoint an independent scientific body, ARPANSA, to regulate the operating body, ANSTO,” he said.
“ARPANSA has stated the Lucas Heights facility is nearing capacity for low-level waste and will be full by 2028 and it is incumbent on the Government to find and establish a new site before then.
“To say time is short is a riculous understatement.
“ANSTO cannot continue to operate without a waste management plan and the Government should not even comptemplate interfering with or pressuring ARPANSA any way to alter its science-based decision.
“Such actions would be very dangerous.
“For Kimba, as a small can-do community, facing the inevitable population decline associated with new technologies in agriculture, securing this facility is an attempt to assure its future.
“Consequently, this decision is a huge disappointment for the strong majority who have persisted against all the free advice coming from those who do not live in the community including the Barngarla, who somehow believe we are too stupid to make the right decision for our own community.
“The next period will involve the Government and Minister Madeleine King making a decision as to whether to challenge the court decision and I can only hope they do so.
“If they do not, it will allow a whole new precedent to stand. Pushing this issue to one side to avoid confrontation with any indigenous grouping because they are pre-occupied with selling Australians the Voice would be a serious error with long-term ramifications for the country.
Media contact: Leonie Lloyd-Smith 0417827523
July 18 2023