Kimba vote debate moves to Human Rights Commission

The Barngarla community of Eyre Peninsula are hoping to take another step towards inclusion in the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility site selection ballot for Kimba as the matter now heads to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

On Thursday the Supreme Court of South Australia adjourned the matter of Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation v Kimba District Council with the two parties now scheduled to participate in conciliation in the commission at a date yet to be determined.

The Barngarla had been granted an interlocutory injunction after arguing the ballot was discriminatory because native title holders living outside the boundaries of the Kimba District Council were not able to vote.

The injunction restricting the council from conducting the ballot remains in place.

Corporation co-chairperson Emma Richards said this was a great result and hopefully it would lead to the wider Barngarla community having a say on what happens on their land.


“We’re really happy with that because it allows us to challenge being excluded from the vote,” she said.

“We shouldn’t have to ask (to be included).”

Ms Richards said this also highlighted how the Barngarla community missed out on the consultation process.

The Barngarla community celebrated determination of Native Title with a handover ceremony held in Whyalla in June.

The claim covers 44,500 hectares of the Eyre Peninsula and Iron Triangle, and includes the land around Kimba.

A Department of Industry, Innovation and Science spokesperson said in line with its commitment to the communities the Government would continue to ensure the views of all stakeholders were heard and a decision was made this year.

“Throughout this process the department consulted widely including with Aboriginal communities, including in one-on-one meetings, group meetings and town hall meetings, and including in Canberra, South Australia and at Lucas Heights.

“Yesterday parties agreed that the dispute will be referred to the Australian Human Rights Commission for conciliation, this presents another opportunity to continue stakeholder engagement, and we welcome the opportunity. “

The spokesperson said the facility would support a safe, job-creating environment and host waste currently spread across more than 100 locations across Australia.

The Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association, who is also challenging against the location of a potential site near Hawker, has applauded the court’s decision and the Barngarla’s efforts.

“If Traditional Owners are shut out of this ballot then the government will not be in a position to rely on the results as any sort of community support or otherwise,” association chief executive officer Vince Coulthard said.

In an official statement the council said that since this matter was still before the courts it would not make any further comment, but it would keep the Kimba community informed as the situation developed.