Traditional owners are heading to the Federal Court as they seek to overturn the decision to construct a nuclear waste dump on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.

After several preliminary hearings, the substantive case is due to open today with the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation trying to stop the proposed dump at Napandee.

The Barngarla launched their action in 2021, seeking to quash a ministerial declaration from the former coalition government.

They argue they were denied the right to participate in a community ballot to gauge local support for the site because many did not live in the Kimber council area.

The corporation said the former government also refused access to the land to undertake a proper heritage survey and tried to remove their right to a judicial review.

The community ballot returned about 61 per cent in favour of the dump.

But when the Barngala conducted their own ballot among their community members, 83 voted no and none voted yes.

Ahead of an earlier hearing, Barngarla chairman Jason Bilney said the traditional owners would continue to fight to stop the dump.

“We fought 21 years to win our native title and if we have to fight 21 years to stop this nuclear waste dump damaging our country, then we will have to do it,” he said.

The coalition government’s decision to build the dump at Napandee came in November 2021 when it announced it had acquired 211 hectares of land with the proposed facility subject to heritage, design and technical studies.

The vast majority of nuclear waste produced in Australia is associated with the production of nuclear medicine.

The Barngarla native title area covers more than 34,000 square kilometres on Eyre Peninsula, including the town of Kimba.


(IMAGE: Marco Verch/Flickr)