Indigenous people in the country surrounding the proposed Muckaty nuclear waste dump say they will act on plans to block the Stuart Highway which runs the length of the Northern Territory.
The government tabled the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2010 on Wednesday, on the back of a deal from N.T. Nationals Senator Nigel Scullion which would see an initial $10m in federal funds for health infrastructure in the N.T., in return for Coalition support.
The Northern Territory government and various local clan groups are opposed to the plan to build a medium-level nuclear waste dump on the aboriginal land north of Tennant Creek.
Penny Philips, a member of the Wintiku clan, told SBS the federal government will have a fight on its hands when local people block the Territory’s principal road.
“We’re going to do it if they’re going ahead with it…we’ll get people to block it, get traditional owners from other countries (to see) if they can block it as well.”
Despite Senator Scullion’s deal, anti-nuclear activist Nat Wasley says the Coalition was always going to support the bill.
“It’s almost a carbon copy of the current legislation that was written by the Howard government, the main difference being that it specifically names Muckaty as a site.”
Senator Scullion doesn’t deny that support was forthcoming amongst the opposition.
“I guess we would have”, he says. “But It’s appropriate that there should be a charge.”