Minister Ignores Reality of Intermediate Nuclear Waste


Last week on Thursday, Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King visited the Kimba community to discuss her plan - mirroring the LNP's previous plans - to store toxic nuclear waste in clean, green, prime farming country at Kimba. 

It is important that Labor visits, hears and listens to the voices that have so far failed to be heard by successive Federal governments: farmers, the Barngarla people, and the many locals who oppose the dump. 

Unfortunately, Minister King failed to acknowledge that the proposed waste dump for radioactive material at Kimba includes temporary storage of dangerous intermediate level waste, for which there is currently no long-term storage solution.  This waste will ultimately need to be moved from temporary storage at Kimba to be safely stored elsewhere for thousands of years. There is currently no plan for this long term 'disposal'. The current plan kicks the cost and planning for this down the road to future generations.

Senator Barbara Pocock said in response to Minister King’s visit: “This ‘solution’ is far from a safe, long-term way of managing Australia’s nuclear waste and it ignores the opposition of so many local South Australians.”

Intermediate waste must be safely stored for 10,000 years, and this proposal involves long distance transport of highly toxic, intermediate nuclear waste and its temporary storage on prime, productive South Australian farmland, with no say for the vast majority of South Australians.  

“I’ve spoken with concerned farmers in that region who oppose this toxic waste dump and they tell me they fear for their livelihoods if produce from the region should be banned from international markets due to regulations around radioactive waste,” Senator Pocock said.

There is no social license for this dangerous proposal.  

Senator Pocock said: “Federal Labor is continuing an expensive, long-winded process begun by the previous LNP Government – a process which has divided the Kimba community and is strongly opposed by the Barngarla people, the traditional First Nations custodians of the land in and around Kimba. 

“Minister King should follow the lead of South Australian Labor Premier, Peter Malinauskas, who has clearly stated his intention to listen to the Barngarla people and to accept and support their opposition to the dump.

“Minister King should be consulting with all South Australians who, to date as a community, have had no say about the proposal to place a highly toxic waste dump in our state. South Australians have historically clearly indicated their opposition to nuclear waste in the state,” Senator Pocock said. 

“There are many ways to diversify the economy of Kimba and its surrounds that do not involve the creation of a nuclear waste dump on prime farming land. No South Australian community should have to take nuclear waste in order to get basic community infrastructure like a health facility.

“The Labor Government should listen to Barngarla people in a year where creating a voice for First Nations people is one of its most important priorities. The first rule of a voice for First Nations people is to do no further harm – to listen and respond to the wishes of First Nations people. Minister King and Labor should suspend all activities at the Kimba site, and find a safe, long-term solution for nuclear waste disposal, one that reflects the views of ALL citizens,” Senator Pocock said.