Federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg’s decision to short-list a single site in SA’s Flinders Ranges as a possible home for Australia’s radioactive waste is disturbingly familiar to past failed federal approaches, the Australian Conservation Foundation said.

Minister Frydenberg has declared the Barndioota region, 45 kilometres west of Hawker, as the only one of six possible sites to progress to the next stage of assessment.

The government maintains says this does not mean the final facility siting decision has been made and broad community support is needed for the project to proceed.

“None of the six sites that were under consideration satisfied the basic pre-condition of community consent, so to progress with only one is a mystery and a mistake”, said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“One horse races generally and understandably attract the steward’s attention”.

“Adjacent Aboriginal landholders, a key Elders’ group and the Native Title representative body, the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association, have all expressed concern and opposition in submissions, correspondence, public forums and the media.

“The government’s new process flowed from the failure of the government’s old process,” Dave Sweeney said. “Two years on, it looks like little has been learned.”

Meanwhile, the SA nuclear industry Royal Commission is set to open the door to active consideration of the state hosting around 15 per cent of the world’s high level radioactive waste.  The inquiry is due to issue its final report next week.

“The government has said that the Flinders Ranges waste plan is not a done not a deal despite it being the only deal on the table,” Dave Sweeney said.

“We urge the government to give effect to its oft repeated commitments to community consent, to the right of the affected community to say no and to a genuine and robust process.  

“ACF will work alongside affected community members to hold the government accountable in the coming assessment and engagement period.”

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910, tom.arup@acf.org.au; or Toby Halligan on 0419 403 016, toby.halligan@acf.org.au For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@acf.org.au.