Friends of the Earth Australia is today releasing a detailed report on the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 (NRWMA). The report ? written by Monash University fifth-year law student Amanda Ngo ? comes against the backdrop of the federal government’s targeting of a site near Hawker in SA’s Flinders Ranges for a national radioactive waste store and repository.
The NRWMA is heavy-handed, undemocratic legislation that gives the federal government the power to extinguish rights and interests in land targeted for a radioactive waste facility. In so doing the Minister must “take into account any relevant comments by persons with a right or interest in the land” but there is no requirement to secure consent.
Traditional Owners, local communities, pastoralists, business owners, local councils and State/Territory Governments are all disadvantaged and disempowered by the NRWMA.
The NRWMA disempowers Traditional Owners ? in this case Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners ? in multiple ways, including:
- The nomination of a site for a radioactive waste facility is valid even if Aboriginal owners were not consulted and did not give consent.
- The NRWMA has sections which nullify State or Territory laws that protect the archaeological or heritage values of land or objects, including those which relate to Indigenous traditions.
- The NRWMA curtails the application of Commonwealth laws including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 and the Native Title Act 1993 in the important site-selection stage.
- The Native Title Act 1993 is expressly overridden in relation to land acquisition for a radioactive waste facility.
See the media release from FoE Australia, or follow the link above to the report for details.