Barngarla ballot shows "no support" for facility

Barngarla ballot shows

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) have announced the result of a separate ballot on the two proposed Kimba sites for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF).

The BDAC recently conducted a confidential postal ballot of its members through independent ballot agent Australian Election Company, asking voters the same question posed to residents of the Kimba District Council area in a ballot which concluded earlier this month.

The Kimba district ballot returned a 61.58 per cent 'yes' vote and 38.42% 'no' vote.

Of 209 eligible voters in the BDAC ballot, all Barngarla native title holders, 83 valid 'no' votes were counted, with zero yes votes returned.

The BDAC board said the result showed native title holders were not supportive of the facility.

"This unanimous "No" vote demonstrates that there is absolutely no support at all within the Barngarla community for the NRWMF," the board said in a statement.

The BDAC has written to resources minister Matt Canavan advising him of the result.

"BDAC has requested that given the first people for the area unanimously have voted against the proposed facility that the minister should immediately determine that there is not broad community support for the project," the board said.

"In light of this total rejection of the NRWMF by the Barngarla people, it is BDAC's responsibility to continue to give voice to the profound concerns Barngarla traditional owners have regarding the NRWMF, and to take whatever steps are necessary to oppose the NRWMF being located on Barngarla Country."

A spokesperson for the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science said the ballot would be considered alongside other consultation.

"We will consider the results of the Barngarla's own ballot alongside the ballot of people who live in Kimba, as well as submissions received, neighbour and business surveys, and direct feedback including at our drop-in offices over several years.

"The department has said on numerous occasions that the facility will only be delivered alongside a community that broadly supports it, that no single metric or number will determine the level of support, and that no one group or individual will have a right to veto the facility."

The spokesperson said the minister and the department had been working closely with relevant Indigenous representative groups throughout the consultation process and had previously offered to finance a ballot.

"Those conversations are in some instances ongoing.

"With respect to heritage, while native title on both of the Kimba sites has been extinguished, expert heritage consultants were engaged by the department to conduct an independent desktop assessment of Aboriginal cultural heritage, and confirmed no registered heritage sites in or surrounding them."

Community submissions on the proposed facility will remain open until December 12.

This story Barngarla ballot shows "no support" for facility first appeared on Eyre Peninsula Tribune.