Wallerberdina Station no longer considered for a nuclear waste facility

Anti-nuclear rally in Port Augusta.
Anti-nuclear rally in Port Augusta.

Federal Minister for Resources Matt Canavan has announced Wallerberdina Station in the Flinders Ranges will no longer be considered for a nuclear waste facility.

The announcement comes after majority of Hawker residents voted against a nuclear waste dump being built in their region.

The results of the month-long postal ballot returned yesterday with 454 no votes (52.6 per cent) and 408 yes votes (47.4 per cent).

"While the community ballot was just one of many measures I am considering, I have said that achieving at least a majority level of support was a necessary condition to achieving broad community support," Mr Canavan said.

"This ballot does not demonstrate a sufficient level of support and I will no longer consider this site an option for the facility.

"While we will not be proceeding with a radioactive waste site at Wallerberdina Station, I will continue to work with the community to invest $2 million through our Community Benefits Fund, and we will look for further ways to provide investment and benefits to the Flinders Ranges region."

Flinders Ranges Council Mayor Peter Slattery welcomed the results, but was disappointed with the number of people who voted.

Of the 1,238 people who were eligible, only 71 per cent exercised their right to participate.

"The results may be tight, but they certainly could not be construed to represent broad community support," he said.

"Our council endorses and acknowledges the result, and we also recognise and thank our whole community for their patience, understanding and engagement with the process over the last few years.

"It's been intrusive and it's been difficult, but there is now and emphatic line in the sand and our community position has been defined."

The results follow a recent vote in the Kimba District Council, which returned with majority of the community (61.58 per cent) voting in support of a facility on either the Lyndhurst of Napandee site.

Mr Canavan is expected to make a formal decision on where the facility will be housed early next year.

The proposal would see one of the sites storing Australia's low- to medium-level radioactive waste, which is currently housed at more than 100 sites, including the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney.

Speaking on behalf of the Annggumathanha Camp Law Mob, Adnyamathanha Elder Enice Marsh expressed relief the process was finally over.

"We are very relieved of course, after all of the torture and torment over the past four years and that's what it really was; torture and torment by government and industry," she said.

"I'm glad its over for this stage and I hope its over permanently.

"It's clearly rejected by the community because there are lots of people who wanted the waste dump to go ahead and it's very clear to see that they did not cast their vote."

This story Hawker vote returns nuclear "no" first appeared on The Transcontinental.