Letters to the editor

Here to listen

I write in response to ‘Nuclear impact wider than Kimba’, Port Lincoln Times, January 30, to answer some of Mr Schmucker’s questions.

It is just a reality that boundaries have to be set when undertaking a community ballot. But we make sure we talk openly to the community and understand how they see themselves and what is workable before we do so.

The definition of community used in the last vote reflected the feedback from the community. That said, we are here to listen and if the community want a different approach we will consider it.

However, any change must be supported by the broad majority of the community and it must be fair, not favouring any side or interest in the public debate.

However, I acknowledge there will always be some like Mr Schmucker who feel their views aren’t being heard or sought when lines are drawn on a map. This isn’t the case. Our transparent consultation process provides information to anyone who is interested and we are always open to views and submissions from anyone regardless where they are.

The independent postal ballot reported that of the 690 formal votes submitted, there were 396 ‘Yes’ votes and 294 ‘No’ votes, giving a total in favour of proceeding of 57.4 per cent.

The decision to progress both the sites was made by considering the results of the ballot, direct representations and submissions made in the consultation process.

On the community consultation underway, the Department and project team are making every effort to engage the community broadly. Participation in the ballot at the end of phase one was not - and is not - the only way people inside and outside each community can express their views on the project.

Our Kimba project office is open each week, with our team there to answer questions and provide information.

We host information sessions regularly and participate in local community events.

We have hired a community liaison officer who is also available to discuss the project, offer information, and seek further information from the department.

And the newly formed Kimba Consultative Committee will provide yet another link between the community, the department and, ultimately, the Minister who will make the decision.

We received 51 nominations for the committee, the majority of which were supportive, and the group represents a balance of views.

As the group is an informative body rather than a decision-making one, the most important factor is that members represent a cross-section of the community, and that is what has been achieved.

While it is not my place to comment on the matter of councils cooperating, I will note that the independent convenor of the Kimba Consultative Committee is both a resident and mayor of the neighbouring district of Ceduna.

In relation to the previous consultation, that related to different sites, the community was not found to broadly support progressing those nominations, which is why they didn’t proceed.

The relevant legislation says each site volunteered must be assessed on its individual merits with evidence of community support. Two landowners put forward new sites for consideration, with evidence of an increase in support for the proposal and therefore initial consultation was undertaken, leading to the phase two process we are in now.

In relation to this process, we are assessing each of the three nominated sites on their individual characteristics.

The two sites in Kimba understandably have a great deal of overlap when it comes to community consultation because of their proximity but I can assure Mr Schmucker the technical assessment that takes place is site-specific.

Finally, Australia has been searching for a location for a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility for 40 years. The community-centred process underway now has been developed after many inquiries and reports into storage of the radioactive waste generated by activities that have greatly benefited our community and industries.

We acknowledge there are strong views both for and against the facility and we will continue to consult with people of all views as we continue our in-depth technical assessment and extensive community consultation at both sites in Kimba, and the third site at Wallerberdina Station.

We are providing the facts to communities who have volunteered to continue the discussion about hosting this facility, to inform their ultimate decision as to whether it should go ahead in their area.

BRUCE WILSON 

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science 

Communication failure

I am a resident on the rural outskirts of Port Lincoln at Greenpatch.

I have a landline telephone which has not worked properly since about mid-September 2017.

My provider for my telephone calls is Bolo Telecom.

The landline part of the network is the responsibility of Telstra.

between the two companies despite many complaints they have not wanted to or succeeded to fix a necessary service.

Mobile phones in my area are not always workable.

I notice Telstra have advertised updated services at port Neill.

I wonder if they considered treating existing customers with the same enthusiasm?

I am considering training a pigeon for my communications.

PETER SINCLAIR

Greenpatch