Mukaty (Manuwangku) in the Barkly Tablelands in central Australia is where traditional owner Diane Stokes is waging a struggle against a nuclear waste dump – this is her story:
PShift (4zzz fm 102.1 at noon on fridays) interview with Diane Stokes about her opposition to the proposed nuclear waste dump on her land.
July 13 (sat): Manuwangku, Under the Nuclear Cloud’ – Photographic Exhibition Opening
Place: Queensland Centre for Photography Cnr Cordelia St & Russell St, South Brisbane.
Time: 5:00pm until 8:00pm
To be opened by Muckaty Traditional Owner Dianne Stokes
In 2005, the Australian government named three Department of Defence areas in the Northern Territory (NT) as potential sites for a first purpose built national nuclear waste storage facility. There was no consultation with the Traditional Owners of the land or the NT Government. Then Minister for Education, Science and Training Dr Brendan Nelson remarked, “Why on earth can’t people in the middle of nowhere have low-level and intermediate-level waste?” while his successor Minister Julie Bishop later described it as “far from any form of civilisation”.
In 2007, Muckaty (Manuwangku), 120km north of Tennant Creek, was nominated as another site to be assessed for nuclear waste storage. Called Manuwangku by Warlmanpa and Warumungu Traditional Owners, this place is far from ‘middle of nowhere’. They maintain a deep spiritual and cultural connection to the area.Supported by people across the NT and Australia, the community has engaged in protests and legal action in the Federal Court to defend their right to live in a clean and safe environment, free of hazardous waste. The photographic narrative ‘Manuwangku, Under the Nuclear Cloud’ is a portrayal of this community’s spiritual connection to their land and resilience in the face of an overwhelming conflict through a common struggle to keep their traditional land free and safe.
Photography by Jagath Dheerasekara