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Court rejects indigenous action over SA nuclear dump


The Federal Court has dismissed a bid by a group of native title holders to have a say on the possible location of a nuclear waste dump on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.


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The Barngarla people had argued that a poll of residents planned by the Kimba District Council to gauge local support for the dump was unlawful because it excluded native title holders.

Two sites near the town have been short-listed as potential locations for a low-level radioactive waste storage facility, while a third is near the Flinders Ranges town of Hawker.

On Friday, Justice Richard White ruled that the Kimba council’s actions did not contravene racial discrimination laws.

The Barngarla had claimed their exclusion from the vote was based on their Aboriginality, and would impair their human rights or fundamental freedoms as native title owners.

But Justice White found the council had not excluded the Barngarla because of their Aboriginality, but had restricted the ballot to members of the Kimba community who had the right to elect council members.

He said the council’s actions were reasonable.

“An enlargement of the franchise for the purpose of the ballot would have required a number of subjective judgments about the extent of the enlargement and raised issues concerning the proper identification of those within the expanded franchise,” the judge said.

Kimba had been about to distribute ballot papers for a vote on the dump, when the ballot was halted by a South Australian Supreme Court injunction.

It remains unclear if the council will now continue with the vote.

The federal government this week said it was yet to select a favoured site for the dump, rejecting reports one of the Kimba properties was the frontrunner.


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