The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) is appalled by the Senate vote (Thursday 19 March) not to repeal the Commonwealth radioactive Waste Management Act -2005 (CRWMA). Labor Senators voted not to repeal this act, despite it being one of their firm election promises. Only the Greens voted to repeal it, on a day in the senate where such things as Alcopops Tax and Workchoices were more prominent and nuke waste dumps almost slipped totally under the radar.
“As it stands the CRWMA allows the federal Government and ANSTO to forcibly dump, what is in reality, high level radioactive waste in the Northern Territory. Labor claim they want to draw up a new act, to replace the CRWMA, however they could have repealed the existing act to give some relief to Territorian’s, particularly TOs who have made their opposition very clear”. Justin Tutty (ANFA committee member)
In 2007 Labor politicians (who were in opposition at the time) met with a group of Traditional Owners who traveled to Canberra to oppose the CRWMA. They gave us firm assurances that they would repeal this act, 18months later we see things haven’t changed. “Aboriginal members of the Labor party are not happy, and will be raising this issue at the next local LP meeting”. Rebecca Bear Wingfield (Co-chair ANFA).
The Bill to repeal the act was put forward by the WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlum, ANFA appreciates the efforts of the Greens in pursuing this repeal. There was also a Senate inquiry about the CRWMA, an act that has been described as a ‘Howard Government relic’. Their findings were recently reported to the Senate. The report highlighted the clear inadequacies of the current CRWMA, and the poor consultation processes in place at the time.
“The amended CRWMA encouraged the Northern Land Council (NLC) to undertake secretive negotiations with a small select group of TOs from Muckaty Station near Tennant Creek, to nominate a fourth site. No open or transparent consultations have ever taken place with the larger group of affected Traditional Owners. The federal Labor party has been made aware of this situation and have missed an important opportunity to repeal this draconian act, just who are they governing for?” Donna Jackson (Co-chair ANFA).
The only chance affected TOs have had to air their deep concerns about the nuclear waste dump being imposed on them, was via the above mentioned Senate Inquiry, the findings of which have appear to have been ignored by Labor.
The Northern Territory Governments (NTG) silence on this announcement is deafening. The NTG have previously publicly stated their opposition to a radioactive waste dump being forced on the NT. NT Senator Trish Crossin should have been there to vote no on behalf of her constituents, who clearly do not want this toxic facility.
“Despite the apology and rhetoric about new relationships, the ongoing racist Intervention, the non signing of the UN - Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People’s and now this, is testimony to the lack of real respect that this Government has for the Sovereign people of this country”. Donna Jackson (Co-chair ANFA).