Tuesday, 3 May 2016
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) on 27 November 2015 the Adnyamathanha traditional owners released a statement outlining their opposition to the nomination of Barndioota station to host a National Radioactive Waste facility with the statement detailing environmental conditions in the area, including flooding and yarta ngurra-ngurrandha (earthquakes and tremors), the importance of ground water and many mound springs close to the proposed site,
(ii) on 29 April 2016 press releases were issued from three different organisations that represent the Adnyamathanha traditional owners detailing their opposition to the nomination of Barndioota station,
(iii) the area is of cultural significance to Adnyamathanha,
(iv) Yappala was declared an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) by the Federal Government in 2014,
(v) there is extensive archaeological evidence of occupation in the surrounding area, and
(vi) there has been a lack of consultation with Adnyamathanha; and
(b) calls on the Government to:
(i) acknowledge the opposition from the Adnyamathanha traditional owners, and
(ii) respect previous commitments on non-imposition and the importance of community consent, and remove the Barndioota site as a nominated site.
I thank the chamber. Following a 120-day community consultation period that concluded in March, the government has shortlisted the voluntarily nominated site in Barndioota, South Australia, as a possible site for a national radioactive waste management facility. Barndioota displayed a broad level of community support for moving to the project's next phase. Importantly, Barndioota's shortlisting does not represent a final decision to locate the facility but rather presents an opportunity to continue consultation and concept development with the community to ensure accurate information is provided and any outstanding questions are answered. The government is fully committed to preserving Indigenous heritage. A key part of this next phase will be an independent Indigenous heritage assessment that will be undertaken in consultation with traditional owners to identify the full extent of heritage at the site and ensure it is protected. The government has consistently said that this facility will only be established at a site that has broad community support and meets Australia's strict environmental and radiation protection regulatory requirements. The government intends to make a decision on the final location for establishing this facility within a year to allow for the next round of thorough consultation and assessment to take place.
I thank the chamber. Despite everything that Senator Ryan has said, the Adnyamathanha mob—the traditional owners of that area—and the community more broadly are not interested in further conversation. They are not interested in being consulted at. They are not interested in the box-ticking exercise that appears to be unfolding here. There is a very serious challenge before the minister now if he is to be taken at his word that this would not be a non-consent proposal. The views of the community, particularly those who have been custodians of that country for tens of thousands of years, must be listened to on this issue. They are not interested. They have months and months of so-called accurate information from the Commonwealth government. Their right to say no must be respected and upheld, and there is no reason at all for this nomination to proceed any further. I hope that I have the support of the chamber in this important vote.