A big thanks to those who came along to the fantastic public meetings in Sydney and Wollongong last week: hearing from Northern Territory Traditional Owners speak out against the proposed nuclear waste dump at Muckaty. The public meetings and protest of the World Nuclear Fuel Cycle Conference on Wednesday morning were fantastic!
You can check out information, campaign materials, films and more at: http://beyondnuclearinitiative.wordpress.com/
Below are two speeches from a public meeting at the Illawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre on Dharwal country (Wollongong) on April 22, 2009.
A couple of weeks prior to the meeting, a shipment of spent fuel rods from the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor had been transported in the dead of night through Wollongong to be taken out of Port Kembla in New South Wales.
Dianne Stokes, Mark Lane and Mark Chungaloo (Traditional Owners of the proposed federal radioactive waste dump site at Muckaty in the Northern Territory ) were keen to meet with other communities affected by the Lucas Heights facility- if an NT dump is built then these fuel rods are eventually mooted to be dumped on their land.
Fred Moore-lifetime union activist
Garry Keane- MUA Illawarra Branch Secretary
Some of the news coverage of the protest:
Garrett urged to speak up on nuclear issues
Politicians, Aboriginal leaders and environment groups have joined forces to protest against an international conference on the nuclear industry, currently meeting in Sydney.
The coalition is also calling for an end to the Northern Territory radioactive waste dump proposal.
Greens Senator Scott Ludlum says the Labor Party has had a year and a half in Government, but still has not dealt with radioactive waste management issues.
He is calling on the Environment Minister Peter Garrett to consult on the issue.
“It’s been an incredible disappointment to me that Peter Garett as Environment Minister has completely gone missing on this issue, and the Prime Minister has given the running of radioactive waste on uranium mining issues to Martin Ferguson, the Industry Minister,” he said.
“We’re not hearing from the Environment Minister and that’s why the Greens and the community groups who are represented here today are stepping up to do his job for him.”
Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation says sustainable energy rather than nuclear power is the way forward.
“There are jobs, dollars, export growth and the ability for this country to be a platform for a sustainable energy future,” he said.
“Now we can be that, or we can cling to the coast and let our country become a quarry and the increasing pressure for material that goes out as ore to come back as waste to be perpetually stored here.
“That’s not a future we want to see.”
Rowdy protesters target nuclear meeting
Noisy protesters are targeting a global nuclear conference in Sydney, saying they want attendees to know they are not welcome.
About 60 people from a group calling itself the Sydney Anti-Nuclear Coalition were on Wednesday demonstrating in front of the Elizabeth Street hotel playing host to the World Nuclear Fuel Cycle conference.
The coalition is mainly made up of environmental, student and trade union groups.
Police dragged several protesters away after they tried to get into the building and ordered the demonstrators to move on, but made no arrests.
The conference is a nuclear fuel industry event, held annually at different locations around the world.
Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman Dave Sweeney played down the scuffles and praised the group for braving the wet weather to turn out.
“It’s been a bright and bouncy protest. It’s had a bit of passion as it should, because there’s high stakes here,” he said.
“There are people here from Perth, from Melbourne and the Northern Territory and nationally there is a very deep concern about all things nuclear in Australia.”
Mr Sweeney said arguments that nuclear fuel was a green alternative to coal power were not acceptable.
“You can’t call an industry that creates a waste that’s a carcinogen for 250 million years clean or green,” he said.
“It (nuclear energy) is not going to ride over the hill as a white knight and save us, it’s not a solution to climate change.
“It’s expensive and linked to the worst weapons and the worst waste.”
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said it was important for people to voice their concerns about nuclear energy.
“The nuclear industry needs to know that wherever they set foot in Australia, we’ll have a presence,” Mr Ludlam said.
“Sometimes it’s important to just confront them and let them know they’re not welcome here.”
© 2009 AAP