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NLC settles on Muckaty

Posted: Thu, June 19, 2014

NLC CEO Joe Morrison addresses the media today.

OUT of concern for relations among the Aboriginal clans which comprise the Muckaty Aboriginal Land Trust, the Northern Land Council has agreed to settle the Federal Court challenge to the Commonwealth Government’s proposal to establish a nuclear waste facility at Muckaty.

The settlement, offered by the lawyers representing opponents of the facility, was signed off by the parties in Melbourne late yesterday.

In June 2007, the NLC nominated a site for the facility on 225 hectares in the south-east section of the Muckaty Aboriginal Land Trust area. The Commonwealth approved the site in September 2007.

“The NLC notes that its acceptance of the offer is done without any admission of liability – that is, without any admission that the nomination was made in error,” said NLC Chief Executive Officer Joe Morrison.

Mr Morrison said the NLC remains satisfied that it made the nomination with the consent of traditional owners and after consultation with other Aboriginal people with interests in the land.

“In fact, the applicants’ own evidence, heard in Tennant Creek last week, acknowledged that the NLC had consulted broadly and appropriately, with the involvement of all affected groups, and that consent was given to the nomination in accordance with Aboriginal tradition,” he said.

“The NLC maintains that the nomination was not affected by any relevant error and that the legal challenge would have failed.

“However, it is apparent for various reasons – largely due to outside pressures, including pressures caused by divisive litigation – that a number of individuals have shifted their position since the nomination and no longer want the facility to be constructed on the nominated land.

“Because of the divisions within the Aboriginal community, the NLC is now of the view that it would be preferable if the Commonwealth did not act on the nomination. The Commonwealth has agreed with our proposition.

“This position has, of course, been endorsed by the NLC’s Executive Council, which now wants to help the restoration of good relations among the Muckaty families.”