2015 Statement from Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners

Help us stop the nuclear waste dump in the Flinders Ranges!

Written on November 27, 2015 at Yappala Station.

Adnyamathanha land in the Flinders Ranges has been short-listed for a national nuclear waste dump. The land was nominated by former Liberal Party Senator Grant Chapman. Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners weren’t consulted. Even Traditional Owners who live next to the proposed dump site at Yappala Station weren’t consulted.

The nomination was made public two weeks ago and even now, the government hasn’t contacted Yappala residents or Villiwarina Aboriginal Corporation. This is an insult.

The proposed dump site is adjacent to the Yappala Indigenous Protected Area.

On the land with the proposed dump site, we have been working for many years registering heritage sites and sites of significance with the SA government. Now Mr Chapman and the federal government are disrespecting our people and our wilyaru (lore).

The whole area is Adnyamathanha land. It is Arngurla Yarta (spiritual land). The proposed dump site has springs. It also has ancient mound springs. It has countless thousands of Aborigial artefects. Our ancestors are buried there.

Hookina creek that runs along the nominated site is a significant women’s site. It is a registered heritage site and must be preserved and protected. We are responsible for this area, the land and animals.

Through this area are registered cultural heritage sites and places of huge importance to our family, our history and as we plan, our future.

It is a very important archeological site for Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners. It is also a significant historical cultural site for non-Aboriginal people.

There are frequent yarta ngurra-ngurrandha (earthquakes and tremors). We see the ground move and the hills move; we feel the land move. At least half a dozen times each year.

It is flood land. The water comes from the hills and floods the plains, including the proposed dump site. Sometimes there are massive floods, the last one on 20 January 2006. The massive floods uproot huge trees − you can come out here now and see all the trees uprooted by the 2006 flood. In 1956 − 50 years earlier, to the day − a massive flood destroyed Cotabena homestead and all the houses in Hookina township. The pub was destroyed by the 1956 flood and is now a pile of rocks.

We don’t want a nuclear waste dump here on our country and worry that if the waste comes here it will harm our environment and muda (our lore, our creation, our everything).

We call on the federal government to withdraw the nomination of the site and to show more respect in future.

We call on Jay Weatherill to support us. This year one of us (Regina McKenzie) was awarded the SA Premier’s Natural Resource Management Award in the category of ‘Aboriginal Leadership − Female’ for her work to protect land that is now being threatened with a nuclear waste dump. But Premier Jay Weatherill has been silent since the announcement of the dump sites. He can either support us or he can support the federal government’s attack on us by maintaining his silence. He can’t sit on the fence.

We ask all Australians for support. We ask you for your support.

Signed by:
Regina McKenzie and Heather Stuart, Yappala residents, on behalf of Villiwarina Aboriginal Corporation.
Enice Marsh on behalf of Arnggumthanhna Camp Law Mob.