Kimba council set a date while Hawker faces further delays

The District Council of Kimba announced dates for the long-awaited ballot, while the Flinders Ranges Council face further delays.
The District Council of Kimba announced dates for the long-awaited ballot, while the Flinders Ranges Council face further delays.

Following a week of meetings and debates surrounding the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, both the Kimba and Flinders Ranges council have reached separate decisions moving forward.

The Kimba community will have its say on the proposal through a long-awaited ballot, which has been delayed for more than 12-months by litigation from native title holders.

The Flinders Ranges Council have resolved to stave off the ballot until a further SWOT analysis has been provided to the community.

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While the decision to move forward with the ballot has been appealed by native title holders, District Council of Kimba Mayor Dean Johnson said their was no legal impediment to the ballot proceeding.

"Council's position has always been to facilitate the ballot on behalf of the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia so our community could have its voice heard, and we reaffirmed that position at our ordinary meeting last week," he explained.

"We were advised ... that the Minister no longer requests that the Kimba and Hawker ballots to be run concurrently, so Council has commenced planning with a view to ballot papers being posted out on 3 October."

Applications from eligible ratepayers and residents for inclusion on the voters roll will be open for a period of three weeks from August 23, until midday on September 13, 2019.

Flinders Ranges Mayor Peter Slattery assured Council's position on the ballot has not changed.

He said the independent analysis has come at the request of the community, conceding the delay is not ideal.

"As a council we are trying to stay independent in this process and just facilitate appropriate dissemination of information to the community so that our community can make an informed decision about what suits them," he said.

"Obviously there are a lot of other people with opinions about this but we are accountable to our residents and ratepayers. That's why we value the information from the ballot.

"We are still hopeful that we might be able to get this process underway and have this finalised soon enough that we are not delaying the ballot process interminably because that's obviously another frustration.

"It's awkward for our council now to be the ones holding things up when we were ready to roll on all this, but this was the decision of council on Tuesday night so we will pursue that avenue."

Two independent reports have already been commissioned by the federal government, both the Cadence Economic Report and Professor Peta Ashworth's University of Queensland Socio-Economic Study.

The Flinders Ranges Council is seeking government funding to commission further research.

Mr Slattery said the subsequent report will not be used as a decision making tool for the council.

"As a council we don't really know what the role of the ballot is in the ultimate judgement around the location of the facility, but we are very much interested in having that response so that we know how our community feel about it," he said.

"If there's clear community opposition then that's cut and dry and that's great, if there's broad community support then that's cut and dry and that's great, and if it's somewhere in between then it becomes a more political game for the minister and for any communities they end up negotiating with going forward."

It is unclear if running the ballots non-concurrently will have any impact on the decision of where to place the national facility.

This story Waste Dump ballot to run non-concurrently for Hawker and Kimba first appeared on The Transcontinental.