MEDIA RELEASE Thursday 21st November, 2013
ARABUNNA ELDER HIGHLIGHTS THE COSTS OF BHP’S URANIUM TRADE AT ANNUAL MEETING
Mr Kevin Buzzacott, the President of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance and a respected Arabunna elder will today take his concerns over the proposed expansion of the Olympic Dam uranium mine in South Australia to BHP Billiton’s annual meeting in Perth.
Mr Buzzacott has been vocal in opposing the Olympic Dam uranium mine and the planned expansion. Mr Buzzacott unsuccessfully tried to halt the expansion through the courts and has now been ordered to pay court costs to the Government and to BHPB. At today’s meeting he will be asking whether BHP, the world’s largest miner, will be seeking to follow this cost order.
“I’m an Arabunna elder and I’ve spent the last thirty years trying to protect my country and the water from my country from this monster mine,” said Mr Buzzacott. “Now I’ve come all the way from South Australia because this is so important for me, I’m getting old and this could be my last chance to get BHPB to quit to shut Olympic Dam down and leave the desert and us in peace.”
“All my life I’ve stood up for my country because that is the right thing, that’s what we’re taught to do. Now BHPB have a choice whether they’re going to penalise me, take me for the court costs, for standing up for my country – or whether they’re going to respect my rights to protect those sacred places.”
The planned massive expansion of Olympic Dam has been shelved because of low uranium prices and market uncertainty. The current Olympic Dam mine consumes over thirty five million litres of water day from the Great Artesian Basin from Arabunna country and any future expansion would increase pressure on water resources.
“Now you say the expansion is on hold well we have a right to know whether you’re going to try and get this expansion happening or not. I mean it doesn’t make sense to dig deeper when people are waking up and saying no to the nuclear industry around the world.”
“Our land is our life and we will follow BHP Billiton to the ends of the earth to stop this mine from damaging our country and draining our water,” concluded Mr Buzzacott.
Mr Buzzacott will be at the BHP Billiton annual meeting from 11am and available for comment after the meeting.
MEDIA RELEASE Friday April 5, 2013
ANFA WARNS WA URANIUM APPROVAL IS A STEP IN THE WRONG DIRECTION
The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance is disappointed at Minister Burke’s decision to approve WA’s first uranium mine at Wiluna and warn that it is a step in the wrong direction.
Alliance co-chair and Arabunna man Mr Peter Watts whose traditional lands neighbour the Olympic Dam uranium mine in SA said: ‘It is sad news that Minister Burke has approved another uranium project in Australia. Did the minister miss the news about the ongoing nuclear crisis at Fukushima?’
“Toro and the federal government better be get ready for a big fight because with the mining of uranium will always come opposition.”
“We stand in solidarity with our members and families in the West who do not want the mine to go ahead, we oppose uranium mining Australia wide.” concluded Mr Watts.
Northern Territory co-chair and Arranda woman Mitch said “With current world events we need to call on all governments starting with Australia to commit to a moratorium on all mining, processing and transport of uranium and all steps in the nuclear chain”
Mitch added: “The transport of uranium from WA through SA to the NT is not worlds best practice and the government needs to come clean about the deals made with the mining industry that allows the long haul transport of such toxic materials.”
The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance is calling for a moratorium on uranium mining pending a public inquiry into uranium mining, uranium transportation and nuclear safeguards.
Peter Watts, ANFA co-chair and Arabunna man (SA): 0432 483 066
Mitch, ANFA co-chair and Arranda woman (NT): 08 8953 6175
MEDIA RELEASE 18th December 2012
FEDERAL MINISTER’S APPROVAL GIVES HOPE TO ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES
The Australian and West Australian Nuclear Free Alliances (ANFA and WANFA) have today welcomed Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke’s decision to delay any approval of the Toro Wiluna uranium mine in WA, until there is more information.
WANFA chairperson, Kado Muir said “Minister Burke has given hope to the Aboriginal people represented by WANFA that the conservative Government in Western Australia cannot and will not get away with steam rolling development on our Traditional land.”
“This decision sends a message to our Aboriginal communities that if you hold out and stand up strong for country – you can win. Thankyou Mr Burke.”
Peter Watts ANFA Co-Chair said “ANFA stands in solidarity with those strong people in WA who have challenged uranium mining. This is good news for Aboriginal people right across the country who are standing together united and fighting against the nuclear industry on their country.”
“With the heightened awareness of asbestos – we need to be mindful of the health risks of uranium. We should also remember the huge amounts of water this industry consumes as we’ve seen at Olympic Dam uranium mine– where BHP Billiton doesn’t even pay for it.”
“We’re coming up to the second anniversary of the Fukushima disaster – uranium from where I come from was there at Fukushima, we’re responsible for that. We cannot forget that.”
Kado Muir – WANFA Chairperson – 0477184957
Peter Watts – ANFA Co-Chair – 0432483066
MEDIA RELEASE 8th October 2012
NUCLEAR FREE ALLIANCE CELEBRATES 15 YEARS OF RESISTANCE
The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) celebrated its 15th anniversary on the weekend of October 5-7 2012 on the land of the Arrernte people in Alice Springs. The Alliance brings together Aboriginal people, environment, health groups and trade union representatives to discuss the impacts of the nuclear industry on land and communities. ANFA reaffirmed its opposition to uranium mining, exploration and dumping of radioactive waste on Aboriginal land.
Key issues and resolutions from the meeting are:
- The Alliance met at a pivotal time as Prime Minister Gillard heads overseas to progress a uranium sales deal with India, a nuclear weapons state that refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
- The news that Australian uranium was present at the nuclear disaster at Fukushima had profound impacts on ANFA representatives, especially those whose country the uranium came from.
- The meeting noted that numerous uranium mining proposals have been stalled in recent years including the Olympic Dam expansion (SA), Mt Gee / Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary (SA), Myponga (SA), Koongarra (NT), proposed heap leach mining at Ranger (NT), Kintyre and Yeelirrie (WA).
- ANFA called for Australia’s existing radioactive waste to remain at designated federal storage sites at Woomera (SA) and Lucas Heights (NSW) pending an independent public commission of radioactive waste management in Australia.”
- ANFA also called for justice and acknowledgement for communities and people suffering the intergenerational health impacts from British atomic weapons testing at Maralinga and Emu Field.
The full 2012 ANFA meeting statement is at http://www.anfa.org.au
MEDIA RELEASE 13th June 2012
National group condemns Toro Energy
As the International nuclear cheerleaders meet in Adelaide for the International Uranium Conference today the Australia Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) sends a clear message of opposition to Australia’s latest uranium proposal by Toro Energy Ltd at Wiluna in WA.
Peter Watts, Co-Chair of ANFA said “I’ve seen what uranium mining does to community and to country and I want to share ANFA support to the people of Wiluna who are standing strong against Toro Energy’s plans to mine uranium.”
Mr Watts who is also the public officer with the Arabana Aboriginal Corporation said about the recent Arabana Native Title decision, “After 14 years we finally get Native Title, that Native title has been compromised and compromised again with BHP Billiton hanging over our heads at Olympic Dam.”
“Many people in ANFA have been at the receiving end of broken promises, false hopes and radioactive legacies from the nuclear industry. It’s time the industry took responsibility for their failures and to stop berating communities to accept an industry that has caused pain, division and long term changes to our country for a few crumbs.”
Toro has been heavily criticised over incomplete environment, transport and mine closure plans. The proposal is being reviewed by the WA Appeals Convenor who received a number of appeals to the EPA assessment of the Wiluna uranium project.
Donna Jackson, Co-Chair of ANFA said “Larakia stand in unity Martu we don’t want more uranium coming to Darwin and we will stand with the unions and Traditional Owners to stop the transport of that to Darwin.”
“There’s been a derailment, a cyanide spill, our emergency services are not prepared they don’t have enough capacity, they’re doing a good job they just don’t have the expertise to deal with uranium.”
See Glen Cooke’s appeal to the EPA on the Toro Wiluna uranium proposal go to www.wanfa.org.au
For further comment:
Peter Watts 0432 483 066
Donna Jackson 0427 847 186
Australian Nuclear Free Alliance 2011 Statement
The 2011 meeting of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance was held on the weekend September 9-11 on the land of the Undoolya people in Alice Springs. The meeting coincided with events worldwide marking six months since the Fukushima nuclear disaster began in Japan. The meeting was also at the same time as the 10 week Walk Away From Uranium Mining in Western Australia.
ANFA 2011 was attended by representatives of the following Aboriginal and Indigenous Nations and organisations:
Arabunna, Arrernte (central and eastern), Kadyede, Kokatha/Anterkirinya, Kokatha/Mirning, Kokatha/Narrangar, Larrakia, Mirarr, Navajo, Wajarri Yamatji, Warumungu, Warlmanpa, Warlpiri, Whagjuk/Yuet, Wilman/Bibulman. Arid Lands Environment Centre, Australian Conservation Foundation, Beyond Nuclear Initiative, Choose Nuclear Free, Conservation Council WA, Environment Centre NT, Environmental Defenders Office (NT), French Network for a Nuclear Phase out, Friends of the Earth (Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane), Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, Medical Association for Prevention of War, Mundatharra Aboriginal Corporation, National Tertiary Education Union (NSW), Public Health Association of Australia, Western Australian Nuclear Free Alliance.
The meeting opened with a statement from Mirarr Senior Traditional Owner Yvonne Margurula who has expressed great sadness that uranium mined from her country in Kakadu National Park is fuelling the radiation problems at Fukushima. A message of solidarity was also sent from Djok Senior Traditional Owner Jeffery Lee, who is fighting to see his country at Koongarra incorporated into Kakadu National Park to protect it forever from uranium mining. The meeting resolved the following statements:
It is important to expose the fact that Aboriginal people have very limited rights to say no to uranium mining: Land Rights give you some rights; Native Title gives you no rights.
Following a legal briefing the meeting agreed to:
- work with groups that campaign and advocate on this issue and inform Land Councils and representative bodies of this concern
- challenge and push Land Councils and representative bodies to represent their constituents and ensure the counter-industry view is provided
- remind Land Councils and representative bodies that they are legally required to represent Traditional Owners and not mining companies and they need to start doing this or face legal action
Despite nuclear industry assurances, we know that there is no safe dose of radiation. Many people at ANFA have personal or family experiences of these health effects including from the atomic tests. There has never been compensation for atomic testing, which impacted Aboriginal people so greatly. The industry claims that low levels of exposure to radiation are safe, that we need a nuclear industry to treat people with cancer, or that previous nuclear accidents like the recent Fukushima explosion are not too bad, but these claims are all false. The meeting affirmed its commitment to challenging the false claims of the nuclear industry and to building and strengthening alliance with Aboriginal and mainstream health groups.
Australia’s involvement in the nuclear trade has global implications. The meeting was joined by anti-nuclear activists from the Navajo Nation and France. The group discussed how all uranium exported from Australia ends up as nuclear weapons or nuclear waste and causes problems for people in many different countries. ANFA affirmed a commitment to working with fellow activists across all nations for a nuclear free future.
The meeting agreed that nuclear power is no solution to climate change and that Australia’s energy future must be renewable not radioactive. The meeting resolved to work with climate change activists to debunk claims that nuclear power has a role to play in reducing greenhouse emissions.
The meeting heard a first hand report on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the spread of radioactive contamination in Japan. Supported by anti-nuclear groups, people in Japan are fighting the lax radiation protection standards set by the government. The ongoing Fukushima disaster makes it imperative that Australia acknowledges the costs and consequences of exporting uranium. This is particularly important given that uranium from Ranger and Olympic Dam is sold to Japanese utilities.
The meeting heard from Muckaty Traditional Owners and representatives from other NT communities targeted for a national radioactive waste dump. The current plan offers Traditional Owners at Muckaty compensation to host the dump in the form of roads, housing and education scholarships. These are basic human rights and essential services and should be provided by government anyway – citizenship entitlements should not be dependent on communities accepting a radioactive waste dump. The meeting resolved to support any Traditional Owners facing this toxic bargain, urged people to resist waste transport through their land and called for responsible radioactive waste management by leaving it close to the site of production, scientific expertise and scrutiny.
Walk Away from Uranium Mining
The meeting acknowledged and supported the efforts of those currently involved in the Walk Away from Uranium Mining – a walk from Wiluna to Perth to highlight the cultural and environmental impacts of uranium mining. Some international members of the Walk attended the ANFA meeting to share their stories.
The meeting shared stories of working with trade unions. Unions have a long and successful history of campaigning on behalf of their members and of supporting communities including the campaign against the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor. The meeting heard that there are many simple ways to work with unions to make campaigns stronger. Union liaison and cooperation on the NT waste dump campaign is set to grow in the coming period.
The meeting called for a moratorium on all uranium mining and dumping of nuclear waste in Australia, pending a public inquiry into the impacts of uranium exports overseas and implications of Australian uranium used in Japan by TEPCO at the Fukushima reactor.