Commonwealth $10 million nuclear waste dump legal spend revealed


Since 1 January 2017 the Commonwealth Government has spent at least $9,905,737 on legal work for the nuclear waste dump and the AWRA (Australian Radioactive Waste Agency), as revealed in reply to Questions on Notice put by Senator Barbara Pocock to the Government released today.

In addition, the Government has reimbursed the Kimba District Council $634,013.28 for its costs litigating against Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC).

Senator Pocock’s Question on Notice has also revealed that the Government has spent $607,613.48 directly against BDAC since the litigation began on 21 December 2021, and a further $247,806 spent on in-house legal salaries.

By comparison, the Barngarla people spent approximately $124,000 on legal fees between 21 December 2021 and 26 July 2022. Given the significant Commonwealth legal expenditure against them, the Barngarla are continuing to be forced to spend money on their court case.

Between 26 July 2021 and 9 September 2021 the new Labor Government, under Minister King, has spent a further $301,059.98 on external lawyers fighting BDAC and Barngarla People directly – or $50,000 a week in legal fees. This spend is against one of South Australia’s First Nations groups, whose traditional Country will be affected by any radioactive facility. This continues the battle of the Morrison Government, advancing the dump against the wishes of the Barngarla people and many local Kimba residents.

Senator Pocock has also received a response to her letter to the Federal Minister for Resources, Madeleine King which asked her to suspend work on the dump pending the outcome of the current judicial review. In her response, Minister King states that she will not suspend the court process.

Senator Barbara Pocock will be speaking at the rally with the Barngarla people in Port Augusta Wharf on Saturday, October 15, 2022. 

Quotes to attribute to Senator Barbara Pocock

‘$10 million is a huge, unnecessary legal spend much of which has focused on fighting local Kimba residents and a vulnerable First Nations community.

‘The former Morrison government started this fight, and explicitly excluded the views of South Australians. The Albanese Government has continued down the same road, continuing to spend $50,000 a week.

‘This mega-spend is immoral. It is wasteful, and it is against the spirit of the Uluru statement’.

‘The Commonwealth is continuing to throw big money against local farmers, residents, and a First Nations community, in an ongoing David and Goliath battle.  

‘If the Albanese Government is serious about listening to First Nations people, and enacting the Uluru Statement, they should stop this reckless spend and listen to the Barngarla people who, to a person, oppose this dump.

‘I am calling on the Premier Peter Malinauskas and Attorney-General and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Kyam Maher, to join the current Federal Count proceedings and stand with the Barngarla people and all South Australians against this dump.

‘The Greens will continue to stand with the Barngarla people and the community in opposition against dumping nuclear waste on South Australia.