Added by James Morley on March 1, 2011
Plans to set up Australia’s first radioactive waste dump are being challenged by traditional Aboriginal landowners.
Landowners have invited Resources Minister Martin Ferguson to discuss the proposed plans multiple times, but the minster has repeatedly turned down the invitations.
Last week federal parliament’s lower house passed legislation to set up the waste site at Muckaty Station, near Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.
The waste site, said to be for low-level nuclear waste, mostly nuclear medicines, was nominated back in 2007, and the landowners in the area have been fighting the plans since then.
Mark Lane Jangala, one of the traditional owners, has launched a legal challenge on behalf of himself and other elders in the Federal Court. The issue is due to return in August.
Mr Jangala’s lawyers argue that the Northern Land Council failed to implement an initial consultation process with Mr Jangala and other elders before approving the Muckaty site, and that the site was accepted based on the recommendation of one single Aboriginal family.
Mr Jangala this week arrived in Canberra where he is appealing to crossbenchers to stop the waste dump: “It will not only hurt the land, but it will hurt us,” he told media.