A win for Muckaty Aboriginals as the nuclear waste dump plan is abandoned

Muckaty-nuclear-freeLand council abandons Muckaty dump push June 19, 2014 Neda Vanovachttp://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/land-council-abandons-muckaty-dump-push-20140619-3af4c.html The Northern Land Council (NLC) has abandoned its push to locate a national nuclear waste dump on Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory.

A surprises settlement was offered by lawyers for opponents of the dump and was signed off on Wednesday in Melbourne.

It comes halfway through a roving series of Federal Court hearings to take evidence from a number of Aboriginal clans from the station, 120km north of Tennant Creek, who said their wishes were overruled by a fifth clan and the NLC, who worked together to nominate the site.

The groups have been battling the dump for seven years since Muckaty was formally nominated in 2007.

The NLC says it settled out of concern for relations among the clans.

“The NLC notes that its acceptance of the offer is done without any admission of liability – that is, without any admission that the nomination was made in error,” CEO Joe Morrison said on Thursday.

Lawyers for the traditional land owners at Muckaty Station said their clients were overjoyed with the outcome.

“Every step of the process was opposed by people on the ground, and that may be one reason why they’ve decided to no longer rely on litigation,” Maurice Blackburn lawyer Elizabeth O’Shea told reporters in Melbourne.

Traditional owner Lorna Fejo said she had fought hard to protect the land for her children and grandchildren.

“My grandmother gave me that land in perfect condition and other lands to my two brothers, who are now deceased,” she said in a statement.

“It was our duty to protect that land and water because it was a gift from my grandmother to me.”

She said she would now be able to pass it on in perfect condition.

The Australian government has subsequently dumped plans to locate the facility at Muckaty.

Following a request from the NLC the site is off the agenda, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said.

The council will be given the opportunity to nominate an alternative location.

“If a suitable site is not identified … the government will commence a new tender process for nominations for another site,” Mr Macfarlane said.

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