Muckaty says no radioactive dump, six years and counting
Saturday 25 May marked six years since the secretive and contested nomination of an area of Aboriginal land at Muckaty north of Tennant Creek in the NT as the site of a national radioactive waste dump. Andrew Picone and I were there to soak up the spirit.
After a long time on the road it was great to ditch the car and take to the streets with over two hundred locals in a clear show of the community’s continuing opposition to the federal government’s plan.
After the walking and talking came the serious business of the day with bands from across the Territory taking to the stage for music with a message - and the music was loud and the message was clear - the Muckaty plan is a bad deal, not a done deal.
It was a great day to be part of; full of spirit, story and song
“It's been six years of big struggle for Warlmanpa and Warumungu people," said Muckaty Traditional Owner Dianne Stokes. "We are still standing strong. We are saying that we still don't want the waste to come to Muckaty Land Trust.”
It was a great day to be part of; full of spirit, story and song. it was a day that again showed the importance of people from all parts of Australia taking action together to stop the divisive dumping of radioactive waste on contested Aboriginal land.
Opposition to the dump is playing out in the courts as well as on the ground. Beyond Nuclear Initiative coordinator Natalie Wasley spoke of the need for independent assessment.
“It is highly disappointing that while the court is scrutinising the original nomination process, the NLC is preparing to nominate a new site on Muckaty for assessment. The process of managing radioactive waste must be transparent and include all stakeholders.
Muckaty is a clear test of our nation’s commitment to our respect for both our first people’s and all future generations of Australians
"We urge Federal Resources Minister Gary Gray to step away from the highly contested Muckaty plan and initiate an Independent Commission into radioactive waste management.”
We call on all federal political parties to stop advancing the deeply flawed Muckaty plan and to instead commit to an independent, public and science based process to advance responsible radioactive waste management. In 2013 it is simply not acceptable or credible to impose a radioactive waste dump against the wishes of a community.
Muckaty is a clear test of our nation’s commitment to our respect for both our first people’s and all future generations of Australians. Radioactive waste management is a serious environmental challenge and it must be handled effectively and responsibly. The current Muckaty plan fails to meet international best practise and Australia’s treaty obligations and from the streets of Tennant to the corridors of Canberra it is time for a re-think and new approach.