Union News - Muckaty nuclear waste dump update

30 July 2012

The traditional owners of Muckaty Station had a good win in court recently.

Maurice Blackburn represents a number of the traditional owners of land that has been nominated to be the site of Australia's first nuclear waste dump.

The traditional owners are arguing that the Northern Land Council (NLC) identified the wrong people who could speak for the land and didn't obtain the consent for the proposal from senior elders.

The Commonwealth is keen to progress this project and with the NLC, attempt to fragment and delay the proceedings.

Maurice Blackburn was successful in arguing against these tactics and the court gave the Traditional Owners access to the anthropological material relied upon for the purposes of the nomination.

Rallies have taken place in Tennant Creek and Darwin to mark five years since the nomination was made, and Traditional Owners travelled to Melbourne for a court hearing in June to press for an early trial date. The date is yet to set, but will be early 2013.

Union and community involvement

Key Aboriginal organisations and environmental groups like the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Beyond Nuclear Initiative have been involved in the campaign against the Muckaty nuclear waste dump for several years. Now some of Australia's most powerful unions have also pledged support. 

Over 100 Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members protested the proposed nuclear dump at Mukaty. 

In mid-May, ACTU Congress passed a resolution expressing "disappointment that the highly contested Muckaty site will continue to be pursued under the National Radioactive Waste Management Act" and affirming that the ACTU "Stands in solidarity with Traditional Owners and communities resisting Federal government plans for a radioactive waste dump and commits to supporting trade unions refusing to cooperate with implementation of the policy". 

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