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Some 35 members of the Adnyamathanha and Barngarla communities yesterday heard from experts about a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility being considered for Wallerberdina Station.
The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science organised the Information Session in Port Augusta, at the request of Adnyamathanha elders, Tiger McKenzie and Angelina Stuart.
The session provided communities with direct access to the experts who could answer their questions about the current management of radioactive waste, and what the possible future facility would do.
In addition to Bruce Wilson from the Department running the process, ANSTO waste experts, AECOM technical experts and RPS heritage experts were there to provide the facts and answer questions.
“The communities have numerous questions about the process for siting the facility, cultural heritage studies, technical suitability, jobs and security,” Principal Advisor to the taskforce, Bruce Wilson, said.
“The elders wanted us to provide the facts, and more broadly this was a great chance to let people know how important nuclear medicine and research is, and how the by-products are safely managed.
“The Department would like to offer its thanks to those who took the time out to participate in this information session, and also thank the community for its patience during this process.”
Angelina Stuart said that the session was well attended and very informative.
“It was 231 years ago that Aboriginal life changed. My generation was the last of my family to be born in the bush, and we can’t look back, we need to look forward, and we need a strong future,” she said.
“The best future we can secure for the next generation is one where our people have opportunities and jobs, and our community has strength.
“I had a lot of questions when this whole discussion started, but the more talking and the more working with the group I did, the more I saw this project differently and as an opportunity.
“This is my land and I value it and I would never do anything to threaten it, or the flora and the fauna, the kangaroo or the lizard.
“This session was about giving others the chance to get new information and facts, instead of the bad image. The session gave us the chance to look at both culture and the science. It was excellent.”
Tiger McKenzie agreed the session successfully gave new information to the local communities.
“It was really good because the people who turned up to the session got the information that they need about heritage assessment, flora, fauna, transport and safety,” Tiger said.
“It was great to see so many of our people turn up and engage in this process. The meeting was well done, where people asked questions and participated, even if they didn’t agree.
“The presentation showed the Facility site would be well away from the sacred sites and the creek.”
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