On Friday 12 July 2019 Justice White handed down his ruling that the exclusion of Barngarla Native Title holders who do not live in the Kimba District from participating in a ballot to gauge community support for the radioactive waste facility was not a breach of the Racial Discrimination Act. Read the statement released by the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation here.
In August 2018, The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC), Native Title Holders for the Kimba area, sought an injunction in the Supreme Court based on their exclusion from participation in the ballot planned to gauge community support for a radioactive waste facility in the region. The matter was referred to the Human Rights Commission and was then heard in the Federal Court in January 2019. On Friday 12th July 2019 Justice White handed down his ruling. The matter was dismissed. The exclusion of Traditional Owners from participating in the ballot was deemed not a breach of the Racial Discrimination Act. No Dump Alliance congratulates BDAC and their legal team for their efforts. This ruling in no way means that the site selection process is ok and we will continue to work towards responsible radioactive waste management.
The Barngarla Statement released after the ruling is reproduced with permission below.
The Barngarla People have ancient historical connections to the land around Kimba, and we are the determined Native Title Holders for the broader area. The Barngarla hold significant areas of native title in the area, and we are also property owners for the purpose of the Local Government Act. The Barngarla respects the decision of the Federal Court, as the Court has to interpret complicated legislation. However, more generally we consider it sad that in the 21st Century we are required to take legal action to allow us to have the right to vote on the major decision of the day.
From the beginning of this process, the Barngarla have been trying to ensure that their members, the first people for the area, can access the same right to vote as other people in Kimba. This case has been about standing up for the right of Aboriginal people to vote on important issues which affect their rights.
Our lawyers are reviewing the decision. Although Barngarla have only had an opportunity to review the decision in the last two hours, at this stage it appears that the legal issues are now very narrow and we consider that we will likely appeal the decision. However, this decision will be made by the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC after receipt of full and informed legal advice.
Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC ICN 8603