Article – Adam Giles may offer NT nuclear waste site if traditional owners fail to nominate location

1 October 2014
Rick Hind
ABC News
NT Chief Minister Adam Giles has suggested his Government may put up a site for a national nuclear waste dump if traditional owners fail to nominate one.
Traditional owners in the Northern Territory were asked to nominate their land for a nuclear waste facility by September 30.
Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane had indicated that if a site was not nominated, a selection process involving land owners from anywhere else in the country would start in November.
The new process was put in train when the Northern Land Council withdrew its nomination of Muckaty Station, north of Tennant Creek in June, while a federal court challenge was being heard.
Mr Giles has told 105.7 ABC Darwin he was not aware of the latest information on whether traditional owners in the Northern Territory would nominate their land.
“I haven’t heard anything for a long time about people who were interested about nominating a site,” he said.
“I understand there have been some meetings with land councils. I was advised that some of the TOs (traditional owners) around Muckaty may be resubmitting.”
He said the NT Government would consider putting up a site, if Indigenous traditional owners did not.
“I think there would be a range of opportunities for the Territory Government to offer up a site. We haven’t put our minds to which site that would be and whether or not we will nominate a site,” he said.
“Obviously we have to analyse all the information to see whether or not we should put up a site.”
Opportunity for NT leadership on nuclear waste: Giles
“Potentially it’s an economic opportunity for the Territory, but it’s also an opportunity for the Northern Territory to show leadership on the national stage about where to store nuclear waste,” Mr Giles said.
“We haven’t decided whether we will at the moment, but I think we will look at it if the land councils don’t nominate a site,” he said.
However, Mr Giles added that any discussion of a possible location for a waste facility was jumping the gun.
“Let’s not get too far in this argument because we haven’t done all the analysis at this stage,” he said.
“We have to find a site that is geologically sound, that is sound from an earthquake point of view, that has certain access point.”
Mr Giles said people would be more supportive of a nuclear waste facility in the NT if they were given all the information about nuclear waste storage.
“If people knew that there is low-level waste currently stored at Royal Darwin Hospital, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs hospitals, if people understood that, knew what it was, I think that people would be more receptive to that,” he said.
“I know that there are hundreds and hundreds of nuclear waste sites currently in Australia, where nuclear waste is stored, mainly in hospitals, there needs to be a central repository.
“It may be something that the Northern Territory could get involved with, but not without full information and dialogue with Territorians.”
The Northern Land Council and the Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane have declined to comment until the nomination deadline passes.
The turnoff to Muckaty Station, the withdrawn NT site for a national nuclear waste dump.
Courtesy of ABC News