With the recent announcement of a court date for the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) complaint against the Kimba District Council, it looks unlikely a decision on a radioactive waste management facility site will come this year as planned.
The BDAC racial discrimination complaint will be heard in the Federal Court on January 30 next year.
Until the case is resolved, the community ballot on the Kimba site is postponed indefinitely.
Resources Minister Matthew Canavan had previously been vocal in his aim to have a decision by the end of 2018.
Neither the minister nor the Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science have committed to postponing the decision until after the ballot is conducted.
A spokesperson for the department said it would “continue to observe the progress of this case,” and reiterated that “consultation is ongoing while this matter is being resolved and submissions continue to be accepted.”
Kellie Hunt from ‘No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA’ said the group was “disappointed” with the communication from the minister and department through the court process.
She said it looked like “another unlikely promise” that the decision would be made in 2018.
However Mrs Hunt said the group respected the needs of the Barngarla people to feel “fully and properly consulted” in the process.
“Although we are keen to see a resolution, we have been in this process for over three years now, and we are willing to wait a few more months to ensure any decision is fair and inclusive.”
Kerri Cliff from ‘Working for Kimba’s Future’ expressed disappointment in the delay in the site selection process, but agreed on the necessity for diligence.
“It is important that all factors are taken into consideration in the decision-making process,” she said.
“This is just one of many factors and needs to be resolved before the project can progress further.”
She said the ballot was the basis of Kimba’s first vote to continue the process in 2017, and that it was an important part of the process.
Mrs Cliff said the delay was “out of everyone’s hands.”
“Our community, while the majority are disappointed with the delay for the vote, continues with the usual high number of well supported community events that are a normal part of Kimba life while we await the outcome.”