Majority support for Kimba nuclear waste facility

A majority of the Kimba community has voted in favour of having a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at one of two sites in the district.

The results of the non-binding postal ballot declared on Thursday were 61.58 per cent in favour of the facility.

However those opposed to the proposal do not believe this constitutes "broad community support".

The No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA Committee said in a statement the result proved the community remained divided over the issue.

We have always been firm that any result under 65 per cent could in no way be perceived as broad support...

No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA Committee

"(Resources Minister Matt Canavan) has always promised that the National Radioactive Waste Facility would not be sited where broad community support did not exist and with nearly 40 per cent of residents saying no, this clearly cannot be proven in Kimba.

"Over the past four years Minister Canavan and his department have wasted unacceptable amounts of time, money and recourses attempting to coerce our community into accepting this facility.

"The stress his flawed and divisive process has caused is clearly evident in our once cohesive town.

"We have always been firm that any result under 65 per cent could in no way be perceived as broad support, he should not impose this facility on 40 per cent of our community who don't want it, and it is time for the Minister to find another solution for Australia's waste."

Kimba mayor Dean Johnson said the council would pass on the results of the ballot to the Department of Industry Innovation and Science, and Resources Minister Matt Canavan.

Kimba mayor Dean Johnson said the council would pass on the results of the ballot to the Department of Industry Innovation and Science, and Resources Minister Matt Canavan.

More than 90 per cent of the 824 people eligible to vote participated in the ballot with 745 ballot papers returned to the Australian Electoral Commission and 735 formal votes accepted.

Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan said the results of the Kimba ballot indicated "considerable support for the proposed facility in the district".

He said the result would be considered alongside submissions and feedback from stakeholders including neighbours, councils and local groups, and Traditional Owners.

"Submissions remain open and the department will continue to consult on this proposal and consider other technical information," Mr Canavan said.

"The ballot to be held by the Flinders Ranges Council will proceed on November 11 and conclude on December 12. Results from that ballot will also be taken into consideration.

"I expect to make a decision early next year."

Conservation SA chief executive Craig Wilkins said the poll's marginal support of only 452 voters was "hardly the ringing endorsement" the South Australian Parliament needed to overturn the long-standing state law which makes it illegal to import radioactive waste into South Australia.

Minister Canavan has said previously that 65 per cent support would be needed to indicate 'broad' community support...

Conservation SA chief executive Craig Wilkins

"Minister Canavan has said previously that 65 per cent support would be needed to indicate 'broad' community support, and his department has said 65 per cent 'at least' would be required," Mr Wilkins said.

"It's now time for Minister Canavan to recognise his current approach to finding a long-term solution for nuclear waste is unnecessarily divisive and misguided, and come up with a better option."

Kimba mayor Dean Johnson said the council would pass on the results to the Department of Industry Innovation and Science, and Resources Minister Matt Canavan for consideration, and he expected a decision about the final site to be made early next year.

"We are incredibly proud of our community and we thank them for engagement and participation in this ballot."

This story Majority support for Kimba nuclear waste facility first appeared on Eyre Peninsula Tribune.