From Sydney Morning Herald – a key issue.
June 4, 2014 – 2:18PM
Waste dump opponents don’t own land
The indigenous group opposed to plans for a radioactive waste storage facility on a remote Northern Territory property does not own the proposed site, a lawyer for the Commonwealth has argued.
The Federal Court was told on Wednesday that Muckaty Station, earmarked in 2007 as the site of a national store for nuclear waste, spanned 221,000ha and seven indigenous groups owned land within it.
Dr Stephen Donoghue, representing the Commonwealth, said the case hinged on who owned the site of the proposed waste facility.
“Not all seven descent groups that had an interest in Muckaty Station had an interest in all of Muckaty Station,” Dr Donoghue said.
“One has to consider who is the traditional owner of that particular two square kilometres.”
The court was told the Lauda branch of the Ngapa people were identified as the owners during on-site tours, and in a survey by the Northern Land Council (NLC). They also consented to the waste facility being built after a long consultation process.
“Not only were there multiple meetings, there were multiple meetings attended by very senior members of all of the (indigenous landowner) groups,” Dr Donoghue said.
These meetings “didn’t generate a view that anyone other than the Lauda branch of the Ngapa group were the traditional owners of the site”.
The group opposed to the project say the NLC’s survey overlooked their ownership, they were not adequately consulted and there were irregularities in the compensation package for landowners.”
(emphasis added – BR)
To view the entire article, click on: http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/waste-dump-opponents-dont-own-land-20140604-39ip5.html