Strong community concern was expressed over the proposal to permanently store hazardous waste at the Chandler Salt Mine at a public meeting held last night in Alice Springs.
More than 30 local Titjikala residents travelled to attend the meeting, and were joined by concerned residents from the Alice Springs community. The meeting was facilitated by the Arid Lands Environment Centre and sought to raise awareness about the permanent hazardous waste storage facility proposal.
Key points from the meeting included:
- A united belief that the region should not be a sacrifice zone for hazardous waste from across Australia.
- There has been a lack of transparency around native title negotiations and what the company is promising the community. Some members of the community claim they were not informed of the storage of hazardous waste for geological time.
- The native title claimants are concerned that the project will interfere with their cultural rights such as hunting and the ability to teach and grow with the next generations.
- The lack of a sufficient regulatory framework and no long term monitoring plan for the project
- Environmental concerns including the impact of hydraulic backfilling on the stability of the salt, security of surface storage of waste, and accidents and spillage on roads and the Maryvale and Henbury stations
“Significant community concern was expressed at last nights meeting about the permanent storage of hazardous waste at the proposed Chandler Salt mine site,” said Jimmy Cocking, Director of the Arid Lands Environment Centre.
“Titjikala community members do not feel they have been properly informed about the full nature of the project and have significant concerns on how this project may impact on the cultural responsibilities of looking after country, and activities such as hunting,” said Jimmy Cocking.
“The Arid Lands Environment Centre provided an interpreter at last nights meeting to ensure that all residents understood the information presented as well as had the opportunity to express their concerns and be understood. It is critically important with projects like these that community concerns are addressed.”
“On behalf of the people who attended the public meeting ALEC will be writing to the Northern Territory Environmental Protection Authority requesting that the community’s concerns are addressed in the assessment of the Environmental Impact Statement, and will be organising another meeting on country to enable more Titjikala residents to have the opportunity to understand the full implications of the project,” said Jimmy Cocking.