Introduction to the aNTi waste campaign
During the 2004 federal election, the federal environment minister Ian Campbell promised voters there would be no nuclear dump in the NT. The minister actually said "Territorians can take that as an absolute categorical assurance".
Then, during the 2005 NT election, CLP Senator Nigel scullion gave similar guarantees, promising Territorians they wouldn't get a dump : "Not on my watch"
But in July 2005, with these elections safely out of the way, federal Science Minister Dr Brendan Nelson revealed plans to site a national nuclear waste dump in the NT. He told Territorians they "need to take a reality check", asking "why on earth can't people in the middle of nowhere have low-level and intermediate level waste?"
Territorians were justifiably outraged, and formed grassroots action groups in Alice Springs, Darwin, Katherine and Tennant Creek. The NT Government has vowed to use every tool available to them to fight with Territorians against an unwanted and unnecessary radioactive waste dump.
In 2008, the Federal Labor Party campaigned with comprehensive commitments to repeal the Howard government's laws and restore fairness to decision making regarding radioactive waste management. Labor was elected with a platform which included not only repeal of the Howard Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act, but also reinstatement of the Land Rights Act, restoration of procedural fairness and commencement of an inclusive consultation process. Upon coming to power, Labor did not budge one inch towards these commitments.
Finally, in February 2010, Federal Labor tabled the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill. It was immediately clear that Labor intended to cheat their way out of the promise to repeal the bad old Howard CRWM Act by immediately enacting the bad new Labor NRWM Bill, which simply repeated the extreme injustices of the law it supposedly repeals. While finally offering reprieve to the three defence sites originally scheduled in the old CRWM Act, the new NRWM Bill sets the government's sights squarely on Muckaty Station, the site controversially nominated by the Northern Land Council. The new Bill goes so far as declaring that certain clauses from the old Act, which deny Traditional Owners any further say in the nomination, are to remain in force despite the Act's repeal.
The insult of Labor's refusal to honour their election commitments has only renewed focus of the campaign, and now the groups around the NT, and our supporters interstate and nationally, have all turned our energies on the imperative to protect Muckaty Station against this unjust imposition of unwanted, long-lived nuclear wastes on Aboriginal land.