Kimba's Maree Barford new nuclear community liaison officer

NEW ROLE: Kimba District Council mayor Dean Johnson, community liaison officer Maree Barford and National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce general manager Bruce McCleary.
NEW ROLE: Kimba District Council mayor Dean Johnson, community liaison officer Maree Barford and National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce general manager Bruce McCleary.

A Kimba local has been given the job of liaising between the community and government on all things nuclear.

National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce general manager Bruce McCleary announced on Thursday Maree Barford had been employed as community liaison officer – the first job created as a result of the community consulation on a potential National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at Kimba.

The announcement was made at the opening of a new project office in Kimba.

Mrs Barford moved to Kimba in December 2014 with her husband Shaun after they bought the lease for the Kimba Gateway Hotel.

She said she applied for the job because it would be great opportunity.

Her role will be to liaise between the community and the government.

“I’ll be engaging with the community and then letting the government know what is happening in the community and their views,” Mrs Barford said.

She will start her role on Monday, working full-time from the project office.

“People can come and visit me in the office to discuss the project but I’ll also be going into the community,” she said.

“I’ll be making sure the conversation is happening.

“I think I can be the voice for the community, being the link between the town and the government.”

Mr McCleary said the consultation process was community based and ensuring “continued meaningful engagement” with the community was central to the project.

“Maree will help us understand even more deeply what the community’s priorities, concerns and areas of interest are, which will make the process more effective and genuine.

He said the community liaison officer was the first of more than 15 direct jobs that would be created if the facility went ahead at one of the two sites being considered at Kimba.

“There would also be a range of other indirect jobs that would come as a result of the significant construction and maintenance contracts,” Mr McCleary said.

“There is a lot going on in phase two (of the consultation process) – there will be technical assessments into areas including groundwater, geology and seismicity.

“In addition, a $2-million Community Benefit Program will be progressed and a Kimba Consultative Committee established.”

He said Mrs Barford would provide a permanent, local presence to help keep the community informed and involved in all activities, alongside the project team and other experts who would continue to visit Kimba.

At the end of the phase two consultation, the community will have another chance to decide whether or not a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility is the right type of industry for Kimba.

“The community liaison officer is a key conduit between the community and the government and Maree’s appointment reflects the successful model in place at Wallerberdina Station,” Mr McCleary said.