Some short updates on the Muckaty nuclear waste dump and news links are below. There is a lot of energy and momentum in the campaign at the moment thanks to all of the support activities people have been undertaking around the country.
1- Australian Council of Trade Unions votes to support Muckaty campaign
The ACTU National Congress held in Sydney in May voted unanimously to adopt the motion below. Individual unions have also committed to further educate their members about the Muckaty proposal. This is a very exciting boost of support for the campaign and is a result of years of work, with Traditional Owners travelling to speak at union meetings across the country and inviting and hosting a union delegation to Tennant Creek last August.
Motion adopted at ACTU Congress 2012
Pursuant to standing policy, Congress:
1. Acknowledges that the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act has been repealed, but expresses disappointment that the highly contested Muckaty Land Trust site will continue to be pursued under the National Radioactive Waste Management Act.
2. Stands in solidarity with Traditional Owners and communities resisting federal government plans for a radioactive waste dump and commits to supporting trade unions refusing to cooperate with implementation of the policy.
3. Rejects any legislation which would continue to target a site on the Muckaty Land Trust, or any site in Australia for a nuclear waste dump that is not based on recognised scientific and international best practices.
4. Notes the recent application by ANSTO for reprocessed spent fuel waste to return to the Lucas Heights facility in Sydney and acknowledges this as an opportunity to review radioactive waste management in Australia by conducting an independent and comprehensive public commission into all aspects radioactive waste transport, storage and management in Australia.
2- Rally in Tennant Creek/Alice Springs and Darwin public meeting
A series of successful public events have recently been held in the Northern Territory.
a) On May 25, about 150 people rallied in Tennant Creek and marched to the Northern Land Council office. This marked five years since the NLC Full Council voted to nominate the Muckaty site for assessment, despite opposition from many Traditional Owners.
Speakers at the rally included member for the Barkly Minister Gerry McCarthy, Barkly Shire President Barb McCarthy, Maurice Blackburn Lawyer Lizzie O’Shea and many Muckaty Traditional Owners.
Audio from the rally is available at www.beyondnuclearinitiative.com
ABC NT TV news clip:
A simultaneous support rally was held in Alice Springs and supporters uploaded video messages, which can be viewed at:
b) On May 30 a well-attended public meeting was held in Darwin, organised by the Environment Centre of the NT. Speakers included United Voice NT Secretary Matthew Gardiner, Maurice Blackburn lawyer Lizzie O’Shea and Muckaty mob.
ABC NT TV news clip:
3- Update on Government process
Some important news regarding radioactive waste management is the application by ANSTO (the organisation that runs the nuclear reactor) to build an onsite storage facility at Lucas Heights for waste returning from overseas reprocessing for an interim period of five years. This is a clear acknowledgement that the Muckaty campaign has pushed back successfully against government bullying- ongoing community resistance means they now cannot get the remote Muckaty facility built in time for the scheduled mid-2015 return of reprocessed waste from overseas.
Lucas Heights is where the majority of this level of radioactive waste and the majority of Australia’s nuclear expertise are located. National environment and health groups are cautiously calling the Lucas Heights storage plan the ‘least-worst’ option and an opportunity for the government to finally commit to undertaking a comprehensive public commission into radioactive waste production, transport and management.
For more information, please read the opinion editorial below by Dave Sweeney from ACF
“We need to talk about Lucas Heights”
NB: This does not mean the Muckaty plan has been abandoned by the government. We must continue efforts to stop the pursuit of Muckaty, or any other remote site for a radioactive waste dump if chosen for apparent political expediency.
4- Federal Court
The federal court action challenging the nomination of Muckaty is ticking along, with the next hearing in Melbourne on June 25.
Hear Maurice Blackburn Lawyer Lizzie O’Shea on ABC radio at:
We are hoping to support a group of Traditional Owners to attend the hearing and speak to media. If you are able to contribute to the costs of this trip details are available on the BNI website:
5- End of financial year appeal
On that note, an end of financial year appeal to support the Muckaty campaign and work of BNI is being prepared. Please consider a one–off or regular contribution to help support the Muckaty and other nuclear free campaigns BNI is working on. More details will be sent soon or see the link above.
Thanks for taking the time to read these updates and please contact me with any questions or suggestions for the campaign.
Beyond Nuclear Initiative coordinator
Beyond Nuclear Initiative
0429 900 774