CLEVE resident Deb Carlaw, who was one of 10 Eyre Peninsula representatives on the Nuclear Fuel Cycle’s Citizens’ Jury, has returned from her time on the jury, with a “strong feeling” of distrust in the state government.
“We felt we were being herded toward making the middle vote (go ahead with investigations into the facility) and I was horrified by the manipulation and subterfuge underway – it really opened my eyes,” Mrs Carlaw said.
The jury was a collective of 350 people from across the state which Mrs Carlaw said did not include many regional or rural people.
Two thirds of the jury voted to not go ahead further with the waste proposal, with economic benefits, trust, safety and lack of indigenous consent key points in their decision. Mrs Carlaw said 100 per cent of the EP representatives voted a strong ‘no’ to the proposal.
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has now said the discussion should continue on the proposed facility, which will only be achieved by political party bipartisanship and a state wide referendum.
Mrs Carlaw said she was disappointed but not surprised Mr Weatherill was continuing on with the proposal, regardless of the fact the jury was “supposed to be the voice of the state”.
“Fuorteen million dollars down the drain because the government won’t accept the verdict we came up with,” she said.
Mrs Carlaw had used social media as a platform to ask what people on Eastern Eyre felt regarding the nuclear proposal before she attended the jury, with the majority saying ‘no’ to the idea.
“We had people stand up, including a representative from PIRSA, who advised the jurors that country people wanted this facility, which I couldn't believe, as from the information we had received from community members, this was not the case.”
She said the responses to any questions regarding nuclear accidents were met with a blanket statement of “there will never be any”.
Mrs Carlaw said the facts she received while on the jury firmly made her mind up to not support the proposed facility.
She said the experience had been challenging, physically and mentally and had missed out on important family events, because she wanted to be able to see the experience to the end.
“I wanted to be able to devote myself to this responsibility – I studied, I talked, I listened and I learnt,” Mrs Carlaw said.