IN the mire of technical jargon at the hearings of the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission South Australia, sometimes a little gem emerges on what they really want to happen.
Ploughing through the pitch of James Voss for importing radioactive trash, at the 15th October hearing, Philip White alerted me to this little gem, from Voss:
“There clearly has to be a siting undertaking – siting of facility for storage. Within that, there has to be a broad set of agreements with the host – with South Australia…. This might be an equivalency to the indenture agreement between Olympic Dam and the state.”
Sounds inoccuous, doesn’t it? But as Philip White says: “The indenture agreement precedent might sound great for them, but we need to expose the racism of that approach.”
Nectaria Calan comments – “That’s really interesting and corroborates our suspicions that the indenture is indeed a dangerous precedent for the nuclear industry in SA. Imagine a waste dump exempt from parts of the Radiation Protection Act.” Calan has previously written on this Act:
“exemptions from the Environmental Protection Act (1993) are of particular concern. The exclusion of this Act means that the Olympic Dam mine is not subject to the same environmental regulatory framework as other industrial projects in South Australia, and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), which administers the Act, is excluded from its monitoring role. BHP’s environmental performance is instead the responsibility of the Minister for Mineral Resources Development, who, based on BHP’s own reports, has full discretion to approve or reject programmes for the management and rehabilitation of the environment, without any obligation to consult with other agencies.”
The Josephite SA Reconciliation Circle are well aware of the real effect of Roxby Downs (Indenture Ratification) Act , amended 2011. In their submission to the Royal Commission they state:
“Aboriginal Heritage Act
Our Members are particularly concerned that the Royal Commission is actually circulating
information that claims that the mining of uranium in SA is controlled by various legislative
safeguards including any protection afforded to Aboriginal Traditional Owners by the SA
Aboriginal Heritage Act.
Our members’ collective memory is very clear that the reverse is the actual truth. The 1982 SA
Roxby Downs Indenture Act initially for the original joint venturers, BP and Western Mining,
and later Western Mining and then BHP Billiton, EXEMPTED each operator from the
Aboriginal Heritage Act.
The Aboriginal Heritage Act needs to be
• reinstated as a genuine safeguard containing rules to be followed, and
• restored to its original strength
If this is not sufficient then Traditional Owners in our democracy need to be given the power
to refuse to have facilities on their lands – whether under native title or land rights legislation- that will imperil the health of their country, groundwater and the health of the
community members now and for future generations.”