For decades, successive federal governments have been attempting to establish a national radioactive waste dump. After trying and failing near Woomera (SA); Muckaty (NT); and Wallerberdina (SA Flinders Ranges), the government latest failed attempt was to impose a dump in Kimba, SA. Here is the story.
"Every attempt to establish a radioactive waste facility in South Australia and the Northern Territory has been met with First Nations and community resistance. And every time, we have won."
Below is a timeline of the proposal for a dump at Kimba (for permanent disposal of lower level wastes and above-ground, indfinite storage of long-lived intermediate-level waste):
November 2019 Kimba council holds a community consultation, allowing only rate-payers to vote and therefore actively excluding the Traditional Custodians of the land, the Barngarla people. Of 734 formal votes, 452 (61.58%) voted Yes and 282 (38.42%) voted No. As a result, the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) engaged Australian Election Company, and independent ballot agent, to conduct a confidential post ballot of BDAC members regarding the waste dump. Of 83 valid votes cast, zero YES votes were returned. This unanimous vote demonstrates that there is absolutely no support withing the Barngarla community for the dump.
November 2021 Resources Minister Keith Pitt nominated the Napandee site in Kimba SA.
November 2022 Resources Minister Madeleine King confirmed that 'site characterisation works' have started, despite repeated federal government assurances that it will not preempt the outcome of a current Federal Court challenge by Barngarla Native Title holders to the validity of the former government’s selection of the site.
Barngarla’s voice is heard as the Federal Government abandons Kimba nuclear waste dump.
Today Federal Minister King abandoned Kimba as the proposed site for a nuclear waste dump, she stated: “the Albanese Labor Government does not intend to pursue Napandee as a potential site for the Facility.”
Mr Jason Bilney, Chairperson of the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation said: “I acknowledge my Barngarla people for being so strong and the resilience of our community to fight this waste dump. We welcome the move by Minister King today to listen to our voices and walk away from the atrocious conduct of the former government. Today, this ends, and I thank everyone who has been with us along the way.”
Aunty Dawn Taylor, Barngarla Elder said: “This plan was flawed from the start and finally today, things went our way and there will be no dump on our land.”
On July 18, 2023 the Federal Court concluded that the former National Party Minister Keith Pitt’s decision to site the facility at Napandee was invalid due to apprehension of bias and set the declaration aside.
Labor's decision to abandon the Kimba site has come after seven years of efforts from the Barngarla community, local farmers, and others to stop the waste dump at Kimba.