Words Before Waste: South Australians Call for More Consultation on Federal Radioactive Waste Plan

New research shows that, while South Australians are divided on the issue of a nuclear waste dump, a clear majority believe more consultation should be undertaken before any final decision is made regarding a proposed disposal and storage facility near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula.

The Australia Institute recently surveyed 510 South Australians about the proposed nuclear waste facility.

Key Findings:

  • Two in three South Australians (66%) say the traditional custodians of the land, the Barngarla people, should be formally consulted via a ballot before any proposal is advanced.
  • Three in five South Australians (60%) believe the whole SA population should be formally consulted via a ballot before any proposal is allowed to go ahead.
  • Two in five South Australians (40%) oppose the nuclear waste dump, while the same share of respondents (40%) support the plan.
  • One in two South Australians (51%) oppose the potential use of the South Australian ports and roads to transport nuclear waste.

"This issue is dividing the state and there is a strong appetite for more consultation with both the Barngarla people and the general South Australian public," said Noah Schultz-Byard, South Australian Director at The Australia Institute.

"Our research has shown that a significant number of people hold concerns about the transportation of nuclear waste on South Australian roads and through South Australian ports.

"In 2016 the current Premier Steven Marshall said he had much greater ambitions for South Australia than for it to become a nuclear waste dump. If that is still the case, the Premier should support a state Parliamentary inquiry and a far broader community conversation regarding the proposed federal facility."

"This is a highly controversial proposal, with many questions unanswered and a lot of misinformation flying around. It's little wonder the community is divided," said Craig Wilkins, Chief Executive of Conservation SA.

"However, one thing is crystal clear: the Barngarla people, who are the formal native title owners of the area, have consistently said they have not been properly consulted. The South Australian people clearly believe further consultation, particularly with Barngarla Traditional Owners, must take place before this proposal progresses.

"There is no hurry: federal authorities have confirmed that there is safe and secure storage at Lucas Heights in Sydney for decades. So, let's get the process and the consultation right - starting with genuine and respectful engagement with the Barngarla people," he said.

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