Twenty five young people have come from across Australia and the globe to be part of a roadtrip for change. The trip left Adelaide on Monday, traveling through Port Augusta, Point Lowly, Woomera and ending at the Lizards Revenge anti-nuclear festival at Roxby Downs. Organised by the Australian Student Environment Network, the participants hope it will inspire people to think more deeply about accepting the mining industry’s social license.
The roadtrip participants are opposed to the expansion of the Olympic Dam uranium mine. ‘Olympic Dam has a domino affect on the area around it’ says Roadtrip for Change participant Jo Seriseley.
‘We believe that the government has taken too much interest in BHP’s profits and not enough interest in the health of South Australians’ says organiser Cristel Chambers. ‘We are disappointed with the Environmental Impact Assessment process because it only looks at the short term impact of the mine and the desalination plant.’ The EIS itself states that the expansion will create significant environmental harm, but the South Australian government has accepted this damage. Ms Chambers said that the group does not accept this harm.
At Point Lowly, the only breeding of the Giant Cuttlefish, the desalination plant built by BHP is likely to wipe the unique species off of the face of the earth. Olympic Dam uses 50% of South Australia’s electricity and 120 million Litres of precious water each day. The tailings from the mine will cover 44 square Kilometres and the EIS states that this radioactive waste will definitely leak into the underground aquifer. Nuclear waste can be toxic for humans for more than 100,000 years, and we have no safe place to store that waste.
‘We wanted to see the beautiful South Australian coastline before it is desecrated by industry’ said Ms Seriseley. ‘Seeing it for ourselves has helped us to understand what we are fighting for’.
Written by Peta Page and Sally Stuart.