WANFA 2012 Meeting Statement – vow to fight Wiluna uranium mine

The Western Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA), made up of Aboriginal Traditional Land Owners who are concerned about uranium mining on their country, from the Pilbara, the Kimberley, the Goldfields, the Great Victorian Desert, the Central Desert, the Gascoyne, Perth and the South West and their allies. WANFA met from 15th-16th of September at Kutunatu Ngurra camp just outside of Leonora.

Kutunatu Ngurra camp is a registered sacred site and has long been a central meeting ground for protection of country, culture and people. The re-establishment of Kutunatu Ngurra for the 2012 WANFA meeting is a testament to the continuing dedication and union of Traditional Owners opposed to uranium mining on their lands.

The West Australian Nuclear Free Alliance supports Aboriginal Sovereignty across all Aboriginal territories in Western Australia. WANFA demands that the Government and Industry respect the basic Human Rights of Aboriginal peoples and adhere to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, respecting our right to self-determination and engaging with Aboriginal peoples within the framework of the principle of Free, Prior and Informed consent.

With the current fast tracking of the Toro Energy Wiluna Uranium Project assessment, WANFA invited WA State Environment Minister, Bill Marmion, to attend the conference to meet with the people this mine will impact.  After several requests the Minister continues to refuse to meet with representatives of WANFA and local Elders showing unwillingness to engage with community.

On September 19th, Bill Marmion announced that he has dismissed the appeals regarding Toro Energy’s Uranium Mine proposal. The Government is now in the process of finalising State Approval for this to become Western Australia’s first uranium mine, the proposal still has a number of approvals and licenses before it can proceed and WANFA along with other NGO’s and groups are investigating options to challenge the mine.

The Ministers conditions on the mine do not cover mine tailings and mine closure, long after Marmion’s term in Government and long after Toro has gone bankrupt the radioactive mine waste will sit on our country threatening and poisoning our lands and bush tucker. This mine is a risk to the environment, the water and the local community. Whether you’re a shareholder or a tax payer this mine will cost us as West Australians.

Bill Marmion’s announcement comes within a week of the fifth anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Free, prior and informed consent are pivotal human rights encompassed within this declaration – rights that are achievable through adequate access to information, and community consultation.  Both of these aspects are continually being withheld and ignored by the WA Government.

The West Australian Nuclear Free Alliance demands that the Government adhere to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and respect our right to self-determination.

We are determined to stop the poison of uranium mining in Western Australia by:

  • Sharing information and our stories to educate people about the true risks of radiation
  • Peaceful protest to demand the truth from Government
  • Demanding transparency and community consultation during both the State and Federal Government’s mining approval processes
  • Challenging the Australian Uranium Association’s Indigenous Dialogue Group who are representing the industry rather than a true Aboriginal community view
  • Exposing anthropologists, archaeologists and pro industry consultants that attempt to validate negligent practices of the mining industry
  • Demanding that our Land Councils, Native Title representative bodies and Native Title service organisations fulfil their legal requirements to be accountable, transparent and representative of the community’s views.

We call for:

  • The WA Government to uphold the United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and fulfil the basic right to free, prior and informed consent by consulting with communities along the proposed uranium transport route
  • The WA Government to immediately commission an open, and independent public inquiry into uranium mining
  • The federal environment minister, Tony Burke, to block any proposed uranium mining project in Western Australia
  • The Western Australian ALP to remain committed to the policy formed at the last ALP State Conference to ban any uranium mines in Western Australia and to close any uranium mines that may be approved under the current Government
  • Those who finance the uranium industry, to avoid the uncertainty and contamination of this trade, and instead invest in renewable, clean energy
  • Governments and the nuclear industry to stop minimising and trivialising the dangers radiation.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

  • Kado Muir (Chairperson of WANFA):             0477 184 957
  • Marcus Atkinson:                                            0400 505 765
  • Mia Pepper:                                                    0415 380 808

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