Media Release Tuesday 20th June 2017
Disappointment over Labor’s broken promise on uranium
The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance, an Indigenous alliance opposed to uranium mining, have expressed their deep disappointment by the announcement from Labor that will allow four uranium mines to proceed. All four projects have been contested by Traditional Owners who will continue to fight to protect their country from the threat of uranium mining.
Janice Scott, Spinifex Pilgi Woman “The Labor Government, we thought they would stand up for us be strong, and all that we’re fighting for – be different from the other Government. They told us lies. We believed that Labor would help us to stop uranium mining, they got our trust and that’s why we voted for them.”
Mr Glen Cooke Ngaanyatjarra elder “we will be stepping up the fight talking to our countrymen. This impacts our lands and stories all over not just the mine sites. Tribal people are saying we don’t want uranium. Enough is enough. We will take this further, this country is beautiful and we have to look after it for our children and grandchildren and all future generations.”
“What is so disappointing is that the Labor Government did not sit down and talk with us about this decision which affects our country. Today’s decision Labor has not made any friend but has lost many.” Concluded Mr Cooke.
Media Release Monday 13th March 2017
Calls for Labor to send uranium miners packing
The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance today welcomes the election of a WA Labor Government and looks forward to ending the threat of uranium mining in the state. Communities in the Goldfields and Pilbara have struggled with the threat of uranium mining for the last 8 years and are relieved that the end is in sight.
“The Labor party policy is really clear, not only does it reject uranium mining but the party’s policy also supports Traditional Owners rights to say no to mining. We look forward to working with Labor to implement these policies” Kado Muir, West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance chairperson said.
“None of the four projects in WA have final approvals to mine, they don’t have a social license to operate and none of them are under construction. In the lead up to the election Mark McGowan was clear that projects that don’t have final approval would not be allowed to go ahead. None of these projects have final approval and we look forward to a formal announcement from the Labor Government that none of these projects will proceed under Labor.”
Vicky McCabe Co-Chair of the Australia Nuclear Free Alliance said “There is a great feeling of relief to my family who have fought against the Yeelirrie uranium mine for over 40 years, and no doubt is good news for other families in the Goldfields and Pilbara. Uranium mining is different to other mines I don’t want a toxic legacy here for my grandchildren. Uranium is the new asbestos.”
“My message to Labor is don’t let this happen to our country – it’s time to deliver on your promises, keep WA nuclear free and reinstate the ban on uranium mining.”
Media Release Tuesday 17th January 2017
Traditional Owners speak out against Yeelirrie approval
The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance and Traditional Owners of the Yeelirrie area have spoken out against the Environment Minister decision to approve the Yeelirrie uranium mine.
Kado Muir, Chairperson of the West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance said, “I’m disappointed, but it’s not over, we’ll keep fighting against the Yeelirrie uranium mine proposal. The project doesn’t add up and the risks for the environment as well cultural heritage are far too great.”
“The Ministers decision to make many species extinct against the advice of experts and the EPA shows how little our environmental laws mean to this Government.”
Richard Evan Koara Elder said “Cameco and the Government have no respect for our heritage or for life.”
“The Minister who gave approval to mine Yeelirrie, he does not own the land. He does not have the right to destroy our cultural heritage or the subterranean fauna. He’s supposed to protect the environment not approve its destruction.”
“This is our sovereign land and we do not want Cameco to mine here. We’ve fought against this mine for 40 years, our old people said not to touch that area, we have to listen to them. We will continue to say no to Yeelirrie. We will keep fighting, our country is too important.”
Media Release Thursday 4th August 2016
Traditional Owners welcome Yeeirrie decision and re-affirm anti uranium mining position
Traditional Owners at Yeelirrie have fought against uranium mining for over 40 years. The decision from the EPA comes as welcome relief but Traditional Owners remain wary.
Richard Evans Koara elder and co-founder of the West Australian Nuclear Free Alliance has said “The EPA decision to protect subterranean fauna is a good decision and the right decision and we are happy with the outcome. But we believe the EPA has underestimated the risk to bush foods, public health and water and most importantly our cultural heritage and our community’s opposition to the mine.”
“I invite the Minister (who has never spoken to us before) to come and meet with us the Traditional Owners of Yeelirrie before making a decision about our country. No Minister has come to talk to us about that country. Yeelirrie is an important place in our culture, it is a dreaming site it important to us and other tribes around us. In the short time since WA was colonised there has been drastic changes to the ecosystem and the country.”
“Uranium is different, it is poison, it is dangerous and stays dangerous for thousands of years. Long after the company is gone, long after the Minister is gone there would be impacts from a uranium mine that would pose a threat for every generation to come. I’m here to protect that country, for me and my grandchildren and their grandchildren.”
“It’s not just about protecting this country for us – but uranium threatens communities and country from the cradle to the grave, at home and overseas. This is our responsibility and we take that responsibility seriously. We have to leave this poison where it is.”
“Australian uranium was used at Fukushima, uranium from South Australia and the Northern Territory. I don’t want uranium from my country to be in the next nuclear disaster. I don’t want that responsibility on my shoulders. What I want is for the Minister to come and meet with us, listen to what we have to say, listen to what the EPA has said and say no to Yeelirrie”
Richard Evans – Co-Founder of WANFA
Media Release Wednesday 11th May 2016
Cameco uranium plan faces rocky road
Traditional Owners from the regions around the proposed Yeelirrie and Kintyre uranium operations in WA have today sent Cameco shareholders and stakeholders a clear message of opposition to any mining plans. The groups have released a joint statement (attached) to coincide with Cameco’s Annual General Meeting being held in Saskatoon, Canada.
Both communities have a long history of opposition to uranium mining plans at Yeelirrie and Kintyre, dating back to early uranium exploration in WA during the 1980’s. Both communities have also attracted the support of environment, social justice, union and health organisations and the state Labor and state and federal Greens parties in their fight against uranium mining.
“You can’t reverse what the old people have said before. We’re going to stop it” said Desmond Taylor, Karlamilyi Traditional Owner. “This is my spiritual birthplace, my dreaming place. Warturarra (the proposed Kintyre mine site) became my spiritual home; the bush food there became my totem. To mine there would take away my spirit and the totem, it will destroy the living things around it, that place would become empty.”
The joint statement is going to the Cameco Board, shareholders and major Canadian investors. It conveys the depth of the contest that company will face should it seek to advance uranium mining.
“Our country is special to us” said Kado Muir, a Yeelirrie Traditional Owner and Senate candidate for the National Party. “I’m not anti-mining I am speaking as a Traditional Owner communicating our view that Cameco and uranium mining are not welcome on our country. Uranium is different to other mining, because the risks remain for thousands of years. It is our responsibility to look after the land for future generations. We will continue to challenge the proposal to mine uranium at Yeelirrie.”
Members of the Parnngurr and Martu community will be walking from through the Karlamilyi National Park to the proposed uranium mine at Kintyre from the 4th – 12th of June in protest to Cameco and Mitsubishi’s uranium mine plans. See community interviews here.
The Walkatjurra Rangers and Yeelirrie Traditional Owners will also be walking in protest to the Yeelirrie uranium mine from the 7th of August – 7th September. This will be the sixth annual walk against uranium mining in the region. See community interviews here.
- Desmond Taylor, Karlamilyi Traditional Owner
- Kado Muir, Yeelirrie Traditional Owner
- The uranium price is currently at an 11 year low – US $27.5 a pound
- Last month Cameco announced the suspension of operations at its Rabbit Lake uranium mine and reduced production at the McArthur River uranium mine in Canada.
Yellowcake Country Exhibition Opening
When: Friday 14th August 6pm – 8pm
Where: Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery, 46 Henry St Fremantle.
What: Yellowcake Country is a collaborative exhibition and a fundraiser for the Anti Nuclear Movement in WA. This year’s exhibition marks the 5th Anniversary of the Walkatjurra Walkabout – a 4-week journey through the desert connecting people with country and culture to bring understanding about the threats of uranium mining – in WA’s Yellowcake Country.
The exhibition features an eclectic variety of artworks using the media of sculpture, photography, stencils and painting to reflect the environment, industrialisation, peace and resistance – there is something for everyone. All works have been donated to help raise funds for WANFA.
The Opening: Will include live music from Moombaki, a live auction with former senator Jo Vallentine and brief discourses by Kado Muir and Bilbo Taylor.
Who: The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance is an Aboriginal led alliance across WA working with communities on education and support around nuclear issues – from uranium mines to nuclear waste dumps. WANFA plays a key role in supporting Aboriginal communities to find options for campaigning and challenging proposals that sometimes seem unstoppable. WANFA is very happy to say that there is still not a single operating uranium mine in WA.
Kado Muir, WANFA Chairperson and Walkatjurra Walkabout organiser and artist said: “We are happy to be celebrating 5 years of holding the line and keeping uranium in the ground!”
Walkatjurra Walkabout Co-organiser Marcus Atkinson said “The exhibition and the walk have brought people together from across Australia and overseas with people coming in from Taiwan, Japan, United States and France. This movement is global and growing and we are very glad to be starting our walk celebrations in Fremantle a nuclear free zone.”
The Yellow Cake Exhibition will run from the 15 -31 August, 10am – 4pm.
The Walkatjurra Walkabout will depart Perth on the 16th August and return on the 19th September.
Thursday 24th October 2014
Local opposition to Radioactive Waste Dump in Leonora, WA
The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance condemns the unanimous vote of the Leonora Shire Council to pursue a Radioactive Waste Dump at Leonora in Western Australia.
The process has been appalling with no community consultation despite numerous requests from local Traditional Owners. This again brings to light the flawed process of the Governments ambitions for a nuclear waste dump and we again call for a national inquiry into the long term, responsible management of Australia’s nuclear waste.
WANFA chairperson, Kado Muir said “ “Recent calls by the Leonora Council to invite the Federal Government to look at storing waste in our country do not have the support of the community. As a resident of Leonora I have fielded calls from many locals upset that the Council has voted unanimously for dumping radioactive waste in our country, despite some of our elders requesting that they talk to us first. Locals are calling for a community meeting and CEO Mr Jim Epis can expect a fierce and robust debate as they continue to go against the wishes of the community”
WANFA Co-founder and Koara elder, also of Leonora, Richard Evans said “Financial incentives to store waste makes the issue political rather than scientific, the money is not worth the risk and is exploiting disadvantaged communities. We will be standing up to protect our lands for the generations yet to come.”
The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance supports calls for a science based process to find a real solution to radioactive waste. Dumping waste out of site and out of mind does not stack up.
Monday 7th July 2014
Opposition to Remote Radioactive Waste Dump in WA
The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance welcomes the outcome of the Federal Court case to stop a proposed Radioactive Waste Dump at Muckaty Station in the NT. We congratulate the Muckaty Traditional Owners who stood up for their country. The outcome shows that targetting remote Aboriginal communities to store radioactive waste is a flawed process.
WANFA Co-founder and Koara elder, Richard Evans said “Financial incentives to store waste makes the issue political rather than scientific, the money is not worth the risk and is exploitating disadvantaged communities. We are looking after our lands for generations yet to come.”
“The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance supports calls for a science based process to find a real sollution to radioactive waste. Dumping waste out of site and out of mind does not stack up. WANFA has been outspoken against uranium mining, we don’t want uranium mines or waste dumps. We will support any communities targetted for a radioactive waste dump as we do for communities opposing uranium mines.”
Mr Glen Cooke, Ngaanyatjarra elder said “We shouldn’t be digging up uranium in the first place and we do not want a radioactive waste dump on our Ngurra – our home.”
“Recent calls to store waste in our country do not have the support of Ngannyatjarra communities or the land councils, these kind of statements should not be taken seriously. It is very upsetting that some people would make statements about dumping radioactive waste in our country at all, but it is really upsetting that they would talk to the media before talking to the community.”
“We will fight against any plans to store radioactive waste in our community and we will support other communities in WA if they are targetted. It is not right that our communities and our homelands be considered, where the people in the cities will forget about it like they forget about us,” concluded Mr Cooke.
Thursday 28th November 2013
Secrecy on Wiluna uranium expansion under fire
Local Aboriginal elder Mr Glen Cooke has travelled from Wiluna to attend Toro Energy’s annual meeting today to highlight community concern over Toro’s plans for uranium mining in the region.
Mr Cooke and another proxy shareholder, Kylie Fitzwater, have come to Perth to raise concerns about Toro’s long term plans and the company’s failure to communicate these to Wiluna residents.
“Toro have been talking about one project on the Lake and now we hear that they are planning lots of uranium mines from Meekatharra all the way to Lake Maitland.”
“They never talked to us about that,” said Mr Cooke.
“Me and my family we never wanted one uranium mine, we sure don’t want seven of them scattered through that country.”
“Does this mean they will put uranium on trucks from all over and bring it to Wiluna and if so what will they do with the radioactive mine waste, and where will they get the water?”
“It’s just too dangerous. This is people’s homes, not just in town but we live all over and love all of that country. That place is a very special place – for all men North to South, East to West. It’s is too important to muck it up, once it’s broken it is broken forever, we could never get that back.”
“We don’t need this uranium; people in Japan don’t want it – not after Fukushima. Toro need to leave it in the ground where it belongs.” Mr Cooke concluded.
Kylie Fitzwater, who has family connections to Wiluna, said “we were already worried about 9.1 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste being stored on the Lake bed – now this could be doubled. We’ve been worried about where they’re going to get the water from – 3.1million litres a day – is that going to double too? This proposal is going from bad to worse and we’re all being kept in the dark about it.”
“We are calling on the State and Federal Government to stop any further approvals or development of the Wiluna uranium mine until the full project can be assessed and made public.”
“The EPA has a responsibility to ensure that these uranium deposits are not developed in an ad hoc way but carefully considered based on the risk and impact to the environment. This cannot be done by chopping up a massive project into little bits.”
Monday 25th February 2013
Active-radio not Radioactive
Aboriginal and community representatives have today launched a state wide radio campaign highlighting the risks posed by uranium mining in WA.
The campaign features a series of advertisements to be played on radio stations from the Kimberley to Kalgoorlie ahead of the March 9 state election that describe planned uranium mining as ‘today’s asbestos’ and condemn the use of Royalty for Regions subsidies to private uranium projects.
The ads have been produced by the West Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, a network of Aboriginal, environment and public health representatives and organisations concerned about the long lasting and negative impacts of uranium mining on communities and country.
The ads are set to run on commercial, community and Indigenous radio stations across the Kimberley’s, Goldfield’s and the Pilbara.
“WA has an abundance of clean energy resources and resourceful people, our future is renewable not radioactive,” said WANFA spokesperson Mia Pepper.
“The Liberal and National Party’s plans for uranium mining have been flying under the radar so we have decided to put the issue on the airwaves.”
“This risky and radioactive industry poses a direct threat to workers, communities and the environment. It needs to be put under the spotlight and regional communities have a right to know the full story especially when it most directly affects them.”
Kalgoorlie based Wongatha community leader and a founding member of WANFA, Geoffrey Stokes has called for all political parties to come clean on any plans for this dirty trade ahead of the election.
“In Australia we don’t have a use for uranium. We will not benefit for uranium mining but if it happened we would have all the problems from it. We have enough problems, with sickness and disease; we don’t need to add to those problems. We should leave uranium; we should leave it where it belongs, in the ground. We have been in this country for a long time and we will be in this country for a long time.”
Listen to the Pilbara ad: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/28244409/Adevrtising%20election/Radio_ad_Pilbara.wav
Listen to the Goldfields ad: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/28244409/Adevrtising%20election/Radio_Ad_Goldfields.wav
Listen to the ad for Indigenous radio: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/28244409/Adevrtising%20election/Glen%20radio%20ad-old1.wav
View the youtube ad: www.votenuclearfreewa.org
West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance: www.wanfa.org.au
18th December 2012
Federal Ministers announcement gives hope to Aboriginal Communities
The Australian and West Australian Nuclear Free Alliances (ANFA and WANFA) have today welcomed Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke’s decision to delay any approval of the Toro Wiluna uranium mine in WA, until there is more information.
WANFA chairperson, Kado Muir said “Minister Burke has given hope to the Aboriginal people represented by WANFA that the conservative Government in Western Australia cannot and will not get away with steam rolling development on our Traditional land.”
“This decision sends a message to our Aboriginal communities that if you hold out and stand up strong for country – you can win. Thankyou Mr Burke.”
Peter Watts ANFA Co-Chair said “ANFA stands in solidarity with those strong people in WA who have challenged uranium mining. This is good news for Aboriginal people right across the country who are standing together united and fighting against the nuclear industry on their country.”
“With the heightened awareness of asbestos – we need to be mindful of the health risks of uranium. We should also remember the huge amounts of water this industry consumes as we’ve seen at Olympic Dam uranium mine– where BHP Billiton doesn’t even pay for it.”
“We’re coming up to the second anniversary of the Fukushima disaster – uranium from where I come from was there at Fukushima, we’re responsible for that. We cannot forget that.”
12th October 2012
Minister’s uranium approval ignores community opposition
The Australian and West Australian Nuclear Free Alliances (ANFA and WANFA) have today condemned the State approval of the Toro Wiluna uranium mine proposal and the incomplete uranium transport plan.
Kado Muir Chairperson of WANFA said “This uranium mine will not impact on Minister Marmion, or the Directors of Toro Energy but it will impact on the communities from Wiluna right through to Adelaide and Darwin.”
“As a Traditional Owner south of Wiluna I don’t want uranium transported through my country. We’ve stood up strongly against uranium mining on our country we won’t just sit back and let uranium go though our country. This industry is dangerous and unwanted.”
“The Minister has ignored us time and time again. He won’t ignore his friends with holiday houses in Margaret River when they say no to a coal mine. But when we say no to a uranium mine in outback WA, when we invite him out to speak with us – he’s happy to ignore us” Mr Muir concluded.
Mitch Co Chair of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance said “The science and economics of transporting uranium from WA to Darwin and Adelaide does not add up. It is not the safest or the quickest route it puts too many communities and farmlands at risk.”
“If there’s an accident on the Nullabor who’s going to be there to clean it up? Have Toro spoken to emergency service and councils along the route? are these workers trained to deal with radiation? have they spoken to the truck drivers and grey nomads? do they even know about this proposal?”
Peter Watts, ANFA Co-Chair warned “I have a uranium mine on my country in South Australia, we’ve seen what it does to the country and the people, it’s not right. The Environment Minister is supposed to protect the environment you just can’t do that with a uranium mine we’ve seen firsthand that environmental protection and uranium mines can’t co-exist.”
“We just can’t let another uranium mine open in Australia. We need to put an end to this industry now. I visited Japan this year and I saw what our uranium has done, this has gone too far and needs to be stopped.”
WA Nuclear Free Alliance Conference Statement 2012:
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.
Monday 27th August 2012
Yeelirrie traditional custodians vow to fight Cameco proposal
The West Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, an alliance of Aboriginal people across WA opposed to uranium mining, today send a warning to Cameco after the announcement of the $430 million US sale of the Yeelirrie deposit.
Kado Muir, WANFA Chairperson said “My family and Yeelirrie traditional custodians have fought against this mine for over 40 years. Right now we are walking as part of a celebration that Yeelirrie has never been mined. As a traditional custodian of the land my family will continue to fight against any uranium mine at Yeelirrie.”
Mr Muir went on to say “In 2010 the Yeelirrie traditional custodians told the Central Desert Native Title service that they strongly oppose the uranium mine and should no longer engage with BHP Billiton over the uranium mine. The opposition to the mine at Yeelirrie has only grown since then.”
“The WA Government and Cameco must be aware that uranium mining is a sensitive topic – the State does not have a mandate and the Company does not have a social license to operate a uranium mine in WA. Today as we walk from Yeelirrie to Leonora we carry the message across the world that uranium mining is not welcome in our home.”
Richard Evans Koara elder said “Cameco never contacted the original people, the first people of this land about Yeelirrie. They need to consult the ‘Wati Lore and Culture Association’ about all of this, about the whole area.”
“Yeelirrie in my language mean place of death. Yeelirrie was a no go zone for my tribal people. I am happy that while the uranium is in the ground it is safe, I’m concerned what it’s going to do when it comes out of the ground. Now if it’s going to start affecting people in another country, destroying their lives, like at Fukushima, I’m concerned about that, because it’s my mother earth could be doing that, (that makes my mother a killer).”
Media Release Thursday 24th May 2012
Wiluna locals unhappy on uranium plans
Wiluna locals have sent letters to both WA Environment Minister Bill Marmion and Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke inviting them both to Wiluna to discuss the proposed uranium mine by Toro Energy.
Wiluna local and senior law man Glen Cooke has been very critical of the consultation process and is now seeking consultation from the Ministers, with the support of others in the community.
Mr Cooke said “Toro Energy they only talk to a few people, always the same people. It’s not right, the people from Bondini’s* sometimes they don’t know about meetings, or their not invited to meetings or they can’t get to meetings. This is not right.”
* the community closest to the proposed mine
“Marmion and Burke they will be making a big decision that will affect our community our dreaming and our health. Before they make a decision on what happens in our community, before signing away our country from many thousands of kilometers away they should come and look us in the eyes.”
Kado Muir, Chairperson of the West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance and Ngalia man said “The decision by EPA to approve the mining and transport of uranium has sent a shiver of fear through Aboriginal communities in the Goldfields. Our families in Wiluna face the prospect of having their country and environment poisoned by the Toro mine, while those of us living in Leonora and Kalgoorlie can only live in fear and hope that the road trains driving through our town does not have an unfortunate accident.
“The trucking of uranium down the Goldfields highway, sneaking around the back of Kalgoorlie and scurrying out of the State to South Australia along the Eyre highway is a striking commentary on the ‘not in my backyard syndrome’. Lead exports through Esperance and Fremantle demonstrated that industry and Government owned ports can’t cope with Lead, how will they ever transport uranium safely, it’s like playing Russian roulette with a loaded gun.
“This is an irresponsible politically motivated decision by the EPA to pander to Barnetts ‘development at all costs’ agenda for Western Australia.
“The EPA needs to redeem its legitimacy and hold a full public enquiry as provided for under their Act into the wider environmental and public health consequences of uranium mining in WA” Mr Muir concluded.
(the signatures on this letter are only a few of the many many people in Wiluna who are concerned about the uranium mine at Wiluna- due to bad timing and meetings).
Opinion – April 2012 (response to Warren Mundine, letter published in the Australian Financial Review)
It’s time to stop radioactive racism
Globally the nuclear industry is in decline and has been for a long time. The price of uranium was briefly inflated along with false dreams of a nuclear renaissance, in reality the industry is waning. The Fukushima disaster reminded both communities and financial institutions that nuclear power is far too risky for life on this planet.
In Western Australia we have a very aggressive uranium exploration program, sponsored by the State Government, yet deeply opposed by the people. We have a strong history of resistance against uranium mines and a proud history of stopping these mines. In the 1970′s my elders fought against uranium mining at Yeelirrie. In the 1980′s people from the Western Desert marched down St Georges Terrace in the thousands against uranium mining on their lands and we are proud to say we’ve never had a uranium mine in WA. We are going to keep it that way.
Warren Mundine wrote to the Financial Review promoting the nuclear industry. He wants uranium mining, he wants nuclear power and he wants the international community to dispose of its nuclear waste here, all on our lands. Mr Mundine does not speak for us here in Western Australia and has no right to talk about what should or should not happen on our country.
Some of the communities who are being barraged by these wanna be miners have generations of knowledge about uranium ‘poison’. We know better than most, the dangers of uranium. We also have generations worth of experience in dealing with mining companies , of witnessing their broken promises and the deep enduring failures of government to protect our country and people.
We don’t need someone from the East Coast, from Canberra or Canada to tell us what we should or shouldn’t do. Uranium stays in the ground. We have a saying, “Wanti* Uranium, leave it in the ground!” (*leave it)
The nuclear industry across Australia takes it’s toll on Aboriginal communities; from the nuclear weapons testing in Maralinga and Monte Bello island, from the trial mines in Wiluna, Yeelirrie and Manyingee in WA, to the abandoned mines in the NT & Queensland at Rum Jungle and Alligator River and Mary Kathleen, the existing mines at Ranger and Beverley and Roxby Downs in SA. The defeated proposed waste dump in South Australia now proposed for Muckaty Station in the NT. This industry preys on remote Aboriginal communities keeping everything out of sight and out of mind.
Across Australia there has never been a uranium mine that has not leaked radioactive mine waste into the environment, this industry has been tried and consistently failed.
The risk to our lands, to life itself far outweigh the measly rewards, the few jobs on offer, the State government royalties. It is not worth the long term damage to our country and to our water.
These mines will only last for 10 years or 20 years but as custodians we have thousands of years of waste. Long after this State government is a memory, long after the mining companies have gone broke we will be living with the radioactive legacy of their greedy short term ambitions. I and the people of West Australian Nuclear Free Alliance will not sell future generations short.
Kado Muir is the Chairperson of the West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance, he is a Ngalia man and a custodian for Yeelirrie – one of the uranium deposits under exploration by BHP Billiton.
Media Release 17th November 2011
Yeelirrie opposition strengthened: a message from the bush to the boardroom
Representatives from the West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance will attend BHP Billiton’s Annual General Meeting in Melbourne today to raise questions about BHP Billiton’s investment in uranium mining, particularly at the Yeelirrie uranium project in the central goldfields north of Kalgoorlie.
“The Traditional Custodians are strongly opposed to the development of a uranium mine at Yeelirrie,” said Kado Muir, WANFA Chairperson and a Traditional Custodian of Yeelirrie. “For the last two years we have conveyed this opposition via our representative body the Central Desert Native Title Service. Now we are in Melbourne to make sure that the BHP Billiton board gets this clear community message”.
BHP Billiton has scaled back activity at Yeelirrie following the Fukushima nuclear emergency but community opinion against the mine plan remains high.
“We have strong concerns about the safety and management of radiation and the effects that mining Yeelirrie would have on the well- being of our country and our people,” said Koara elder and Yeelirrie Custodian Richard Evans.
“In our language Yeelirrie means the ‘place of death’. We are custodians of that place; it is our responsibility to keep that poison, the uranium, where it is. If that uranium leaves our country and does damage to someone, that’s our responsibility and we take that very seriously.”
“I have been to the BHP Billiton Annual General Meeting two years in a row, in Brisbane and in Perth. I am here again this year in Melbourne to tell the company and their shareholders that we don’t want uranium mining on our country,” said Mr Evans.
Media Release 21st July
Australian Uranium not for sale
Western Australia’s peak environment group, the Conservation Council WA supported a protest against the Australian Uranium Conference this morning along with Traditional Owners, Unions, Environmental and Public Health groups.
Mia Pepper, Nuclear Free Campaigner for the Conservation Council WA said “There is no bipartisan support for uranium in Western Australia. The industry and the Barnett Government continue to ignore widespread public and political opposition to this toxic industry .”
“Uranium mining in WA is not a done deal, many of the deposits are small, remote and costly. The nuclear industry was in decline long before the Fukushima disaster, the recent fall in value of uranium and the huge hit to company shares is just a glimpse of the future for the industry. Government and industry is in a state of a damage control when it should be devising a clean up and exit strategy.”
Richard Evans, Koara (Gwarda) Traditional Owner of Yeelirrie said “Why haven’t Traditional Owners been invited to this conference? Why are we always left in the dark? Our concerns about our country don’t get heard.”
“We don’t want uranium mining, there is nothing good that can come out of this for our people. There’s been plenty of mining companies that have promised us better health and education and opportunities, these promises don’t last but the radioactive mine waste does.”
“All those who profit from uranium mining and the nuclear industry- they should host the radioactive waste dumps, not Aboriginal communities.”
“If uranium from our country is mined it could end up in weapons, it will become radioactive waste or it could be the fallout from a nuclear disaster like Fukushima, we don’t want that responsibility of something from our country destroying or hurting people.”
“Our people know that uranium is poison, we’ve known that for a long time, long before these mining companies came along. We want that poison left in the ground”
Media Release April 14th
We Can’t Close the Gap by Digging a Deeper Hole
The Western Australia Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA), made up of Aboriginal Traditional Land Owners from the Pilbara, the Kimberley, the Goldfields, the Gascoyne, and the South West sends a clear message to the Australian Uranium Summit that uranium is bad for business and bad for communities.
The Indigenous Dialogue Group, a non representative group employed by the Australian Uranium Association will be attending the summit in Perth 13th – 15th April 2011, the WANFA committee, made up of Aboriginal West Australian’s from every corner of the State reject any authority the Indigenous dialogue group has on this issue.
Della Rae Morrison, WANFA Chairperson says “The Indigenous dialogue group does not represent Western Australian Aboriginal people; they do not understand real opportunities for Aboriginal people. Trading off our country for short term profits and leaving behind a radioactive legacy is not real opportunities for the Aboriginal people of West Australia or communities.”
“As Traditional Owner’s and Custodians of the land, our job is to stop uranium from our country contaminating people and lands here and overseas and we take this job seriously”, said Kado Muir, Traditional Owner of the lands around Yeelirrie.
“The nuclear industry and companies like BHP, Toro and Mega are on notice: they are not welcome and they will be opposed.”
“Before any approvals of uranium mines we should have a public inquiry on this divisive and potentially devastating industry,” concluded Mr. Muir.
Since the beginning of time, Aboriginal people have looked after country. Still today, with new technology, new ways and new friends, Aboriginal people continue looking after country. In Western Australia looking after country means preventing uranium mining.
We are determined to stop the poison of uranium mining in Western Australia and demand the WA government commission an open and independent public inquiry into uranium mining.
Media Release 4th April 2011
WA Nuclear Free Alliance Statement: “We Can’t Close the Gap by Digging a Deeper Hole”
The Western Australia Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA), made up of Aboriginal Traditional Land Owners from the Pilbara, the Kimberley, the Goldfields, the Great Victoria Desert, the Central Desert, the Gascoyne, and the South West and their allies, met from 2 – 4 April 2011 on Whadjuk Boodjak (Noongar Land) near Perth.
The meeting was the first gathering of Western Australian traditional owners since the continuing nuclear emergency at Fukushima in Japan and comes against a backdrop of increasing contest over plans for uranium mining in WA.
The meeting heard of the environmental and public health concerns of uranium mining and of the experience Aboriginal people lived through and continue to, with uranium mines in South Australia and the Northern Territory.
The meeting affirmed the opposition of all members to uranium mining in WA and expressed deep sympathy and solidarity with all who are currently suffering from nuclear threats in Japan.
“Since the beginning of time, Aboriginal people have looked after country” said Della Rae Morrison, WANFA Chairperson. Until today, with new technology, new ways and new friends, Aboriginal people continue looking after country and this means preventing uranium mining.
“Uranium mining is not like any other mining, it poisons water, land and life through radiation. The mining industry and the government are trying to make people believe uranium mining is inevitable but we say No.”
The long term costs of uranium mining outweigh any short term returns. We can close the gap by increasing the number of radioactive holes in the ground. Aboriginal people should not have to sacrifice the country of future generations for basic health, education and infrastructure. There are far more jobs and opportunities in caring for our country.
“Our job is to stop uranium from our country, contaminating people and lands here and overseas and we take this job seriously” said Kado Muir, Traditional Owner of the lands around Yeelirrie.
“Mining companies like BHP, Toro Energy, Mega Lake Maitland, Energy Minerals Australia, Cameco and Mitsubishi that are trying to develop the contaminating uranium industry are on notice: they are not welcome and they will be opposed, concluded Kado Muir.
We are determined to stop the poison of uranium mining in Western Australia and demand the WA government commission an open and independent public inquiry into uranium mining.
Solidarity statement from WANFA to the people of Japan
The Western Australia Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA), made up of Australian Aboriginal Traditional Land Owners and their allies, met from 2-4 April 2011 on Nyoongar lands near Perth.
The nuclear disaster unfolding in Fukushima Japan was constantly in our thoughts. We wish to express our profound sympathy for the people of Japan at this time.
We express also our profound regret that Australian uranium bought by TEPCO could be what is contaminating your sea, your water, your food chain and your gene pool.
We cannot stop earthquakes and tsunamis. We can – and we must – stop nuclear dangers.
We pledge to redouble our efforts to ensure that uranium from our state of Western Australia never inflicts the terrible damage you are now experiencing.
We are determined to stop Australian uranium being exported. Uranium mining causes environmental and cultural damage in Australia, and can lead to long-term damage overseas.
On a good day Australian uranium becomes radioactive waste. On a bad day it becomes fallout.
We pledge to work together to promote and build safe renewable energy power stations, as we work to close the uranium mines in Australia and help in your efforts to close nuclear power stations in Japan.
Members of our Alliance, including its Chairperson Della Rae Morrison recently travelled to Tokyo, Hiroshima, Osaka and Yokohama making allies, friends and links between our countries.
WANFA wants to strengthen these links through solidarity, joint efforts and future exchanges.
WANFA urges Japan to follow in Germany’s footsteps to shut down the nuclear power plants. It’s not too late.
Our countries are linked by the ocean, our peoples are linked by a history of surviving the impact of nuclear explosions, and we are linked through a shared hope for a nuclear free future.
Adopted by acclimation 4 April 2011
Media Release 21st Feb 2011
WANFA says NO to dumping radioactive waste on communities
The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA), made up of Traditional Owners from around the State, today condemn the passing of the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill, which removes rights for Traditional Owners to appeal the dumping of radioactive waste.
Eddie Ware, from the WANFA committee said “The Government is essentially introducing a bill that overrides State and Territory law, Land Rights and Environment laws. Through this law they are locking in Muckaty in the NT as the only site under investigation for a waste dump, the Muckaty Traditional Owners have been saying NO to this dump and the Government keep ignoring them. ”
The WANFA committee have written a statement in solidarity with the Muckaty Traditional Owners who are being targeted to host a national radioactive waste dump despite years of vocal opposition.
WANFA solidarity statement to Muckaty Traditional Owners
We fully support your right to say no to radioactive waste dumping on your country and in your region. We don’t believe the federal government’s actions are right or in keeping with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (Articles 18 and 29) and we stand in solidarity with you.
We are facing the threat of uranium mining on our lands in Western Australia and we know uranium becomes radioactive waste.
We don’t want the uranium. You don’t want the radioactive waste. Our country, our kids, our future and our planet needs respect – not mines or dumps.
The spirit of our ancestors, the spirit of the land and our spirits and prayers are with you.
29 March 2010
Clear message to the uranium industry – Wanti Uranium: Leave the poison in the ground*
Indigenous representatives have joined in partnership with environment, peace and public health groups to strongly oppose uranium exploration, mining and transport in WA.
At a state wide meeting in Kalgoorlie on the weekend of 27th and 28th March, hosted by the Wongatha Birni Aboriginal Corporation, the groups formed the West Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA) to:
- educate the West Australian community on the risks of the uranium industry
- support individuals and communities threatened by the uranium and wider nuclear industry, and
- prevent uranium mining in WA
WANFA members held a rally and public meeting in Kalgoorlie and developed an action plan to keep WA nuclear free.
Indigenous people and countrymen from the Goldfields, South West, Gascoyne, Pilbara and Kimberley regions of WA joined with South Australian Indigenous people and representatives of Friends of the Earth Australia, Mineral Policy Institute, Conservation Council of Western Australia, Australian Conservation Foundation, Australian Student Environment Network and the Anti-Nuclear Alliance of WA.
For further information, comment or images contact:
Kado Muir 0419 866 506 or Kate Vallentine 0403 765 177.
*Wanti = Stop in Wongatha the language of the traditional owners of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region.