Trial begins over Muckaty station nuclear waste dump

30 May 2014
The historic legal fight over a proposed nuclear waste dump at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory will go to trial in the Federal Court before Justice North for over five weeks starting Monday 2 June, 2014.

The first part of the test case will be heard in Melbourne and evidence will be taken on country at Muckaty, Tennant Creek and Darwin in the Northern Territory.

Around 40 witnesses will give evidence during the trial. These will include a significant number of Traditional Owners who will say they did not give consent and were not consulted properly over the plan for a dump.  

The Traditional Owners, including nationally renowned Aboriginal elder Lorna Fejo, allege that the Federal Government’s nomination of the land for Australia’s first national nuclear waste dump is invalid. 

In 2007, the Northern Land Council nominated Muckaty as a proposed site for the deposit of radioactive materials.

It is claimed that the Northern Land Council wrongly, and in breach of its duties, did not properly identify the traditional Aboriginal owners and the people holding an interest in the nominated land; did not consult adequately; and did not get proper consent before recommending the site. 

Elizabeth O’Shea, head of Maurice Blackburn’s social justice practice, said: “Traditional Owners have been fighting the dump for over seven years.

“Many Aboriginal people with important connections to this land were either not consulted, or their opposition was ignored,” she said. 

“They are looking forward to the opportunity to tell their story to the Judge.”

Legal proceedings against the Federal Government and the Northern Land Council were commenced in June 2010.  Ron Merkel QC is appearing for the Traditional Owners. The legal team is acting pro bono for the Traditional Owners.

Trial details

2 - 6 June 
Federal Court 

10 - 13 June 
Tennant Creek Court House 

9 June, 16 -17 June 
On site/on country  

19, 23 - 27 June
30 June - 4 July 

Other dates TBA

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