Attention back on Kimba as Hawker nuclear site dumped

Attention back on Kimba as Hawker nuclear site dumped

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NO TO NUCLEAR: South Gap Station's Paul and Kate Greenfield were relieved at the federal government's decision to blacklist Hawker as a potential site for a nuclear waste facility.

NO TO NUCLEAR: South Gap Station's Paul and Kate Greenfield were relieved at the federal government's decision to blacklist Hawker as a potential site for a nuclear waste facility.

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A LACK of community support has prompted the federal government to scrap Hawker as a potential site for the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, with speculation turning to what the decision means for Kimba.

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A LACK of community support has prompted the federal government to scrap Hawker as a potential site for the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, with speculation turning to what the decision means for Kimba.

With 52.7 per cent of ballot papers from the recent Flinders Ranges community vote not supporting a proposed nuclear waste facility at Wallerberdina Station, Resources Minister Matthew Canavan conceded there was not enough community support and he would no longer consider the site.

"While the community ballot was just one of many measures I am considering, I have said that achieving at least a majority level of support was a necessary condition to achieving broad community support," he said.

"This ballot does not demonstrate a sufficient level of support and I will no longer consider this site an option for the facility."

The decision to remove Hawker from the site shortlist has been met with relief from the region's pastoralists.

Kate and Paul Greenfield, South Gap Station, were one of 14 stations in the region who signed and sent a united statement to Mr Canavan stating their strong opposition to any nuclear facility in the lead-up to the ballot.

They held concerns about the proposed site's proximity to the Lake Torrens catchment and the impact of such a facility on the region's reputation.

"I think that decision (to not consider Hawker) is incredibly wise," Mrs Greenfield said.

"It had me perplexed that Hawker was considered as a site in the first place.

"There is a bid for world heritage status for the Flinders Ranges so I didn't think it sat comfortably to have a nuclear waste dump right beside a world heritage site."

Hawker resident Ian Carpenter was disappointed in the ballot result, saying it was a sad day for the communities of Quorn and Hawker.

"After working with the professionals associated with the proposal, I could see the benefits were there to save our town," he said.

"These types of opportunities come once in a lifetime - this type of investment will never happen to our small community again.

"It wasn't just the building of the repository, it was the ongoing support for local businesses, employment and new employees coming into the towns, but in the end the public have spoken and I've accepted that."

Mr Canavan said he would make an announcement on site selection early next year, with the Napandee and Lyndhurst sites near Kimba still being considered.

While 61.6pc of Kimba residents voted in favour of a radioactive waste facility being built in their region in November, Kimba farmer and facility opponent Peter Woolford said the result was not a clear cut indication of broad community support.

"There's a long way to go in all of this yet and I still believe they're imposing it on the community here with nearly 40pc opposed," he said.

"By Hawker being removed - and so it should have been - it is going to open up this debate to the thought of 'this is bigger than Kimba'."

Mr Woolford said the people of SA should be involved in the discussion concerning the construction of a radioactive waste facility and it would be unfair to have a small community make the final decision on a national facility of that nature.

He noted there were only 734 votes in the Kimba ballot, a "tiny proportion" of the state's population.

"People outside of Kimba should have a say on this because it's a national issue," Mr Woolford said.

Fellow Kimba resident Meagan Lienert said a national radioactive waste facility would provide many benefits for the Central Eyre Peninsula community, including increased employment opportunities and the resulting boost to the economy.

"In the building stage, an influx of 300 plus workers to our community would have a huge positive effect for local shops and the local economy," she said.

"That would be just one of the benefits moving forward. It would also help us attract important medical and community services, which we currently lack."

Mrs Lienert, who is married to a graingrower and sheep producer, said education and communication with government on nuclear waste facilities had quelled many people's initial fears about having a nuclear waste facility nearby, especially the agricultural community.

"We know that there are people with concerns, but as far as agriculture is concerned agriculture works side-by-side with these facilities across the world and there is no evidence that those facilities have made other industries decline in any way," she said.

"I think that a lot of people that were initially against the proposal are confident it won't impact on agriculture or any other industries.

"Hawker and Kimba are two of the most educated communities across Australia in regards to nuclear waste storage.

"With that education, a lot of people have come around and changed their minds from what they first thought four years ago."

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