Nuclear waste dump proposals in South Australia: the case of Aboriginal perseverance and resistance in protecting country

Thursday, 23 March 2017
Dr Jillian Marsh

This paper describes and critically examines the characteristics of community engagement between Aboriginal peoples, governments and big corporations (in this case the nuclear industry). The focus on two waste dump proposals put forth by the South Australian and federal governments in a parallel time frame highlights the overwhelming pressures placed on communities as they grapple with the prospect of their traditional lands becoming the site of a nuclear waste facility. The impacts are monumental, long lived and far reaching even before such a facility is possibly erected. Community visions for future prosperity are set to transform South Australia into a clean and sustainable environment for future generations. This vision is at odds with the views held by government and industry, whose primary focus on short term economic gain is challenged even within their own body of expert advisors.

Australians can benefit from a responsible and widely supported long-term plan for the future. This depends on how regional communities and Traditional Owners are able to exercise their rights, and to what extent their views are valued and represented, not ignored or undermined by broader outside pressures.