WANFA is happy to join with other First Nations groups and communities, unions, health, faith and environment groups to call on the WA government to withdraw approvals for uranium mine proposals in WA. You can sign on too! sign here.
The war in Ukraine is a reminder that all nuclear facilities can be weaponised against people and that nuclear weapons are not a ‘deterrent’. Instead, these illegal weapons of mass destruction are used in war to threaten and intimidate and prevent support for smaller non- nuclear states.
Our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine who have already suffered at the hands of war and in the wake of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. We are watching and we see Russia take control of nuclear facilities and threaten countries with the use of nuclear weapons and we are reminded of why we have fought for so long to keep uranium safe in the ground.
We do not want our country being used in weapons to destroy other people’s country and lives. We do not want a mineral from our country fuelling reactors and waste facilities which can be weaponised against civilians in war.
We send our support to Ukraine and stand in solidarity with people world-wide for a safe, nuclear-free and peaceful future.
Today Traditional Owners of the Yeelirrie area are celebrating the expiry of the environmental approval to mine this significant area. The approval to mine Yeelirrie had a condition that required the proponent, Cameco, to mine within five years. The approval expired on 20January 2022 with Cameco failing to meet their condition. Traditional Owners have fought against mining at Yeelirrie since the 1970’s when the uranium deposit was identified by Western Mining Corporation.
Kado Muir, Tjiwarl native title holder, Ngalia leader of Walkatjurra Walkabout and Chair of the West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance said “In the last 50 years our community got together, stood up strong and has fought off 3 major multinational corporations. Today we celebrate that Cameco cannot mine at Yeelirrie.”
Shirley Wonyabong, Tjupan elder and senior Tjiwarl native title holder said “Mining uranium at Yeelirrie, we’re going to stop it. That’s the story for the Seven Sisters… the old people told me the story for that country.”
Shirley Wonyabong, Tjupan elder and senior Tjiwarl native title holder “Our community has come together over this issue and we’ve been clear that mining at Yeelirrie will not happen. That area is important and we have a responsibility to protect that country and keep the uranium where it is. When you stay together and united and you don’t let mining companies push you around you can protect country.
Kado continued “Now we’re calling on the government to not extend approvals to mine at Yeelirrie and to withdraw the approvals entirely. Cameco don’t need another mine but our community needs certainty about the protection of this area.”
Lizzie Wonyabong, Tjupan elder and senior Tjiwarl native title holder “We’ve campaigned so long to stop mining at Yeelirrie because of the Seven Sisters the importance of that area, because of the dangers of uranium when you dig it up and because of the risk of extinction of the stygofauna. It’s time now to put an end to the mining threat at Yeelirrie. Withdraw the approval.”
The 2019 Peter Rawlinson environment award through the Australian Conservation Foundation was awarded to Shirley and Elizabeth Wonyabong and Vicki Abdullah for the 40 years of dedicated campaigning to protect country and culture from uranium mining.
Over four decades Shirley Wonyabong, Elizabeth Wonyabong and Vicki Abdullah have stood against relentless pressure from mining companies, including BHP and now Cameco. Their life’s work has been to protect country and nature, and to inspire their community and others to stand strong too. In 2017-2019 these women stood in the highest court of WA to challenge the environmental approval of the Yeelirrie uranium mine which the WA EPA and the WA Appeals convener determined would likely causer the extinction of multiple species.
“We won’t give up, our country is too important. We will continue to fight for Yeeliree and to change the laws,” they said after their case was dismissed.
Building the Base ~ Red Earth, Big Skies
The first ever Yeelirrie Solidarity Camp that replaced this year’s Walking for Country was launched at the end of September 2019 as a one week camp out on Tjiwarl country, or better known as the Goldfields region of Western Australia near the site of the proposed uranium mine.
The camp was a massive success, with over thirty interested and passionate people listening, learning and showing their support to the people of both Kalgoorlie and Leonora in their fight to stop uranium mining on their country.
Acknowledging the long fight ahead there is a fierce resistance and boundless hope amongst the group as we deepened relationships to each other and country and formed working groups with our passions and skills. We came away with six working groups, Communication, Outreach, Creatives, Fundraising, Resources and Spokes group. In the afternoon, we broke off into the working groups to talk about the ideas shared, and where they would fit into the timeline. A spokesperson was nominated and from here a national phone link up will be created to report back on each of the working groups. It was an exciting afternoon to see awesome ideas and people around the country able to support the aunties and the community to protect their country and stop uranium mining at Yeelirrie.
Our three core themes for the camp, considering a 10 year campaign strategy, Yeelirrie blockade and active campaigning now, were all addressed during the week and clear outcomes achieved. We have started to build the base of supporters from the massive success of the 8 year walking for country and actions around the State already, the camp clearly identified strong support and campaign strategies. Working groups formed and ideas formulated, we are active. The most important part of the whole camp is that the aunties were delighted to see everyone and to see the support is strong for the future.
Red earth deep in our pores, the landscape etched in our minds, relationships deepened, we leave feeling satisfied to stand with the Tjiwarl women and community that tirelessly fight to stop uranium mining on their country. We stand as one, we stand together to protect country, to look after country.
The camp was created to bring campaigners from around Australia to show solidarity with the Traditional Owners and provide a unique opportunity to learn more about the land, the people and the proposed uranium industry in WA. It was an education, of the land, of the struggles faced by Aboriginal people and a snapshot into what happens out in remote communities when the city isn’t watching. The Yeelirrie Solidarity Camp was a temporary community that learnt to get along, to work collectively and unravel patriarchal patterns in the way we function day to day. While travelling thousands of kilometers we shared information, ideas and conversation. The camp is one way we grow the movement, maintain connections across vast distances, spark wild ideas and fortify ourselves for the next steps. Build the base and bring it on!
K-A Garlick is a CCWA’s nuclear free campaigner and was one of the organisers for the 2019 Yeelirrie Solidarity Camp.
This week marks 10 years since the ban on uranium mining was overturned by the former State Government in Western Australia. The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) sends a strong message of support and congratulations to the communities who have been so strong in their opposition to uranium mining in Western Australia. 10 years after the ban was overturned Western Australia remains free of any operating uranium mines.
“We are happy to say there are no operating uranium mines in WA today and no immediate likelihood of any mines being constructed. This is a is a great time to acknowledge and pay tribute to the staunch communities who have stood strong, to the supporters the campaign and the stunning country that remains nuclear free.” West Australian ANFA co-chair Vicky Abdullah said today.
The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) formed in 1997 and is a committed national network of aboriginal and non-aboriginal groups working together to halt the threat of the nuclear industry. ANFA continues to make very real and positive differences and deliver significant results and has played a pivotal role for communities in Western Australia working to protect country and culture from nuclear developments.
Over the last 10 years, ANFA has worked hard to support WA communities challenging unwanted uranium exploration, mines and waste dump proposals. Today, there are four proposed uranium mines being contested, Mulga Rock, Yeelirrie, Wiluna and Kintyre. Each community has been very public in opposition to uranium mining and all have been well represented at the annual ANFA meetings.
ANFA Co-chair, Vicky Abdhullah continued:
“Aboriginal people have long resisted and endured the impacts of uranium mining, nuclear testing and radioactive waste dump proposals in Australia.
“This week, 10 years since the WA government overturned the ban on uranium mining with still no mines built is a strong example for Aboriginal communities that if you hold out and stand strong for country – you can win.
We will continue to support the campaign in Western Australia to make sure uranium is left in the ground“ ANFA co-chair Vicky Abdullah concluded.
Members of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) met on Kaurna and Peramangk country over the weekend of 19-21 October 2018.
Dozens of Aboriginal Nations and civil society organisations were represented; people came together to share stories, strategy and solidarity.
The nuclear industry impacts the lives and country of Aboriginal people in many ways.
The federal government has been trying to find a site for a radioactive waste dump for over two decades. Every proposed site has been on Aboriginal land and at every site Aboriginal people have resisted and stopped the plan. Adnyamathanha, Barngarla and Kokatha commuinites in regional South Australia are currently being targeted for a national radioactive waste dump and store and ANFA stands with them in solidarity against this federal government push.
Representatives from Brewarrina in NSW and Leonora in WA voiced their opposition to the nomination of sites in their regions for the national nuclear dump. Together we are stronger and we will continue to support each other to fight waste dumps wherever the community does not want it.
Wherever it happens uranium mining impacts disproportionately on Aboriginal communities. In Australia there is an extensive history of adverse impact on country and communities and a sustained and powerful tradition of resistance. This year marks 35 years since the Olympic Dam blockade and the meeting paid particular respect to the late Ms Eileen Wingfield and those Kokatha and other Aboriginal people who led this powerful protest at the time. The meeting welcomed the recognition given to Koongarra senior Traditional Owner Jeffrey Lee, the recipient of the 2018 Nuclear Free Future Award. The gathering heard stories of resistance to planned uranium mining in WA and to the important efforts of the Mirarr people of Kakadu to ensure the comprehensive clean up of the Ranger uranium mine and the transition to a vibrant post mining regional economy.
ANFA members are living with the legacy of nuclear weapons testing on their country, this year is 65 years since the tests at Emu Field. We have heard from affected communities that the land is crying. ANFA welcomed the efforts of members involved in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in advancing an International Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons and were very pleased that ICAN’s 2017 Nobel Peace Prize medal was at the meeting and able to be shared. ANFA will continue to push the Australian government to sign and ratify the ban treaty and to ensure justice, recognition and repair for country and communities that continue to be impacted by earlier nuclear weapons tests and trials in Australia.
The meeting discussed the dangers of transporting radioactive materials on road, rail and ships. There is a risk to workers handling these materials as well as communities targeted to host facilities. ANFA will continue to outreach to transport workers around the world to ensure safety in workplaces as well as in our communities.
ANFA turns 21 this year and the meeting was marked by a strong youth representation. Several senior members have been involved for all or most of the past 21 years giving the Alliance powerful continuity. We remember and honor those who have passed on and enthusiastically welcome the new and young members. In an ANFA first a delegation of youth compiled a statement to be presented to the United Nations at an upcoming forum.
The meeting elected a renewed and energetic committee and concluded with an enthusiastic commitment to continue our shared work. We will keep supporting each other through our many struggles and share the joys of our victories as we continue to resist the nuclear industry.
Statement passed on 21st October, 2018.
Members of the Western Australia Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA) met on Kaurna and Peramangk country over the weekend of 19-21 October 2018 for the annual Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) meeting. Dozens of Aboriginal Nations and civil society organisations were represented; people came together to share stories, strategy and solidarity.
The nuclear industry impacts the lives and country of Aboriginal people in many ways.
ANFA applauded the continued efforts of members involved in the Western Australia Nuclear Free Alliance in keeping uranium in the ground even as the ban to mine uranium in WA was lifted 10 years ago by the former Barnett Liberal Government.
ANFA will continue to support the work of WANFA in resisting planned uranium mines in WA and acknowledges the extensive history of adverse impact on country and communities and a sustained and powerful tradition of resistance.
We have returned from Adelaide more determined to shut this toxic industry down and keep our country clean.
From the ANFA meeting there was a strong commitment and determination to keep fighting against the proposed uranium mines at Kintyre, Wiluna, Yeelirrie and Mulga Rock, in the following ways;
- humbugging WA uranium companies involved in proposing the uranium mines, especially Vimy Resources at Mulga Rock by events and attending AGM’s
- supporting the Yeelirrie court case, expanding into he National Environmental NGO’s with tours and talks
- continue to meet with Labor to voice our opposition to uranium mining
- meet with new Federal Environment Minister to ask not to approve Yeelirrie
- holding a WANFA meeting mid next year &/or a national talking tour
It was so great to be at this meeting with a national coalition of people protecting country from uranium mines, nuclear waste and weapons. The meeting elected a renewed and energetic committee and concluded with an enthusiastic commitment to continue our shared work. We will keep supporting each other through our many struggles and share the joys of our victories as we continue to resist the nuclear industry.
For more information and photos see here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/beyond.nuclearinitiative.1/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2211352929140034
Members from the Western Australia Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA) have returned home this week from a weekend in Adelaide on Kaurna country for the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance annual conference to debrief and strategise for the struggles ahead.
At the core of Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) are Aboriginal people living with nuclear projects on their lands, including uranium mines and the toxic legacy of nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 60s, and others trying to stop new uranium mines or nuclear waste dumps being imposed on their country.
This year marked the 20th annual conference; reflecting on the (many) wins of the past, the continued impact of nuclear projects past and present, and strategising on the future directions of the movement.
WANFA has come back from Adelaide, stronger, keener and more connected to continue fighting proposed uranium mines on their land.
We will take what we have learnt from ANFA back into our communities so we can keep WA uranium free.
We made a strong commitment over the weekend along with many other people from around this country to;
* recognise that everyone has the same issue when dealing with the nuclear industry and we are committed to supporting traditional owners and communities on country; and
* we are going to keep fighting against uranium mining at Kintyre, Wiluna, Yeelirrie and Mulga Rock until we get a permanent ban on mining uranium in Western Australia.
We have upcoming events organised so please keep in touch.
Call 0401 909 332 for more information.