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Saturday, October 4, 2014

NT cattleman offers to host nuclear waste dump

The turnoff to Aboriginal-owned Muckaty Station

For years, the federal government has been looking for a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory and Aboriginal-owned Muckaty Station was given first option. 

The Northern Land Council (NLC) nominated the site on behalf of members of the Ngapa group eight years ago, but since then, four other clans have laid claim to the land and say it's adjacent to a sacred site.

The traditional owners have been fighting the proposal in the Federal Court because nobody in their right mind would want a nuclear waste dump in their backyard. 

But recently Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane has been looking at pastoral leases, and his problem could soon be over.

A Northern Territory cattleman, John Armstrong, from Gilknockie Station, 250 kms south of Katherine, says he's willing to have the nuclear waste dump built on his property.  Why?  Because it's a money spinner.

"I think I'd have to stand in line to tell you the truth" he said.  "I'm not going to mention any names, but one would think that people who are very close to the railway line would be the first to stick their hand up."

And he makes a very good point.  "If we're going to sell it, we have an underlying responsibility to store the waste somewhere in Australia." We have around 30 per cent of the world's reserves of uranium and we export 100 per cent of it.

You might wonder why a cattle producer would want a nuclear waste plant anywhere near his cattle but Mr Armstrong has such vast tracts of land at his disposal, the facility would be a long way from where the cattle are raised, he said.

But something's not right here.  There's no way in the world I would buy meat from a supermarket or a butcher if I had the slightest suspicion it was produced on the same property housing a nuclear waste dump. It's just not cricket.

To date, Mr Armstrong hasn't been in touch with the federal minister but he's watching and waiting for a government announcement for interested parties to apply.