Unions Pledge Support To Oppose Nuclear Waste Dump

Trade union officials have pledged support to traditional owners who oppose the construction of a nuclear waste dump on their land.

The delegation met in Tennant Creek last week where they were received by Muckaty traditional owners and community members.

Following a formal meeting in the morning, the five delegates met at a community gathering at the Mary Ann Dam on Tuesday afternoon.

Aboriginal women danced for the union officials who later spoke to the crowd about their commitment to hindering the construction and operation of the proposed nuclear storage facility.

Maritime Union of Australia Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray said: "Based on the recent visit to Muckaty, where we toured with community representatives, the MUA is concerned about the appropriateness of this site.

"Of course, further questions need to be asked as to whether any site in Australia is appropriate for a nuclear waste dump."

Peter Simpson from the Electrical Trades Union’s Queensland and NT Branch, told the local newspaper the unionists had agreed to do everything they could to stop the nuclear dump from proceeding.

“Our goal is to stop it from going ahead,” he told the Tennant and District Times. “We believe it shouldn’t be built anywhere in Australia, let alone out at Muckaty.

“There are too many ramifications not only for the site where it would be constructed but for the transportation corridors as well.”

Mr Simpson said the unions were quite clear about not wanting nuclear material on highways or railway tracks.

“All it takes is one accident, one ruptured container,” he said. “It’s simply not worth the risk and Territorians don’t need this in their backyard.”

On Wednesday traditional owners took the delegates out to the site of the proposed dump at Muckaty.

But an SBS journalist who was in Tennant Creek reporting for Living Black was refused access to the site by the Northern Land Council after dump advocate Amy Lauder said she did not want him on her land.

The Senate is yet to vote on legislation written specifically to allow the nuclear dump to proceed at Muckaty.

The National Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2010, which targets Muckaty as a dump site, was passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives in February.

Meanwhile, a legal challenge to the Federal Government’s waste dump plans at Muckaty will be heard in October.

A mediation meeting scheduled to be held this month was cancelled, so the case will now proceed to the Federal Court.