Letters to the editor - April 2

Letters to the editor - April 2


This week's letters section focused on the decision to build the nation's radioactive waste storage facility.


Most of SA excluded from nuclear waste decision

I REFER to the letter titled 'Happy to answer questions raised' by Sam Chard of the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce (Eyre Peninsula Tribune, February 20).

She defends the selection and consultation process undertaken by the federal government, saying "The department has put the community at the centre of this process".

The federal government knows this is exactly where it has gone wrong and against public consultation expert recommendations for a fair and ethical consultation process.

Such experts, the International Association of Public Participation, identify transparency, inclusivity, honesty and the involvement of representatives of all affected groups as paramount.

In reality, each of these recommendations has been undermined.

Transparency has been non-existent, particularly when participants of a 2019 event were asked to sign an agreement against speaking to others and notes could not be taken.

The fact Kimba and Hawker can be described by Ms Chard as being at the 'centre' illustrates the lack of inclusivity in the process.

All communities affected by the decision should have been involved, particularly the Indigenous people of Barngarla and Adnyamathanha.

Instead, more than 99 per cent of the state has been excluded.

These towns were simply zoned in on because they constituted the largest demographic and geographic extent the federal government was prepared to conduct what I believe was biased consultation.

This bias is shown through use of taxpayer money to fund trips to Australia's Nuclear Science Technology Organisation's Lucas Heights facility.

The University of Qld's baseline reports identify this as pivotal in spreading pro-nuclear views.

This is despite that same facility being identified as not meeting international safety standards according to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency's report, as I mentioned in a previous letter.

Exclusion and a lack of honesty is exemplified through the federal government's claims it has adequately considered Indigenous opinions.

One hundred per cent of the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation voted against the nuclear dump, and have released official statements saying they have not been engaged with in any meaningful way and have been denied self-determination yet again.

The federal government did not need to spend $55 million of our taxpayer money given the state government already held the largest citizen's jury - the ultimate form of deliberative democracy - the world has yet seen in 2017.

SA voted an educated and resounding 'no' to the prospect of a nuclear waste dump being built in the state.

With 350 jury members and consulting more than 50,000 people, this result was far more representative of the state population.

The process was commended in 2017 by the International Association of Public Participation and awarded 'IAP2 Australasia Indigenous Winner'; it had an 82pc satisfaction rate for Indigenous engagement.

What percentage of satisfaction did the federal government receive for its consultation with the BDAC or Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association?

Or did the federal government forget to undertake evaluations of consultation participants, as the IAP2 recommends? Yet another shortcoming.

Ty Bruun,

Baird Bay.

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