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NSW: Protesters call for proposed NT waste dump to be scrapped

22 Apr 2009 5:26 PM

SYDNEY, April 22 AAP - Aboriginal elders and anti-nuclear protesters have targeted a global nuclear conference, calling for a proposed radioactive waste dump in the Northern Territory to be scrapped.

About 60 people from a group calling itself the Sydney Anti-Nuclear Coalition demonstrated in front of the hotel playing host to the World Nuclear Fuel Cycle conference on Wednesday.

Police dragged several protesters away after they tried to get inside the building and ordered the demonstrators to move on, but made no arrests.

The conference is a nuclear fuel industry event, held annually at different locations around the world.

Greens senator Scott Ludlam said the federal government has had 18 months to deal with the nuclear waste issue but had done nothing.

He said he could not understand why federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson was being allowed to continue the former Howard government's agenda of dumping radioactive waste on the Northern Territory.

He said he was especially disappointed by Environment Minister Peter Garrett's inaction on the issue.

"It's been an incredible disappointment to me and to probably the majority of Australians that Peter Garrett has gone completely missing on this issue," Senator Ludlam told reporters.

"The prime minister has given the running on radioactive waste and on uranium mining issues to Martin Ferguson.

"We're not hearing from the environment minister, that's why the Greens and other environmental groups are stepping up to do his job for him."

The protesters were joined by traditional owners from Muckaty - one of the proposed nuclear waste dump sites.

Owner Dianne Stokes urged the federal government to come and meet with the traditional owners of the land.

"We're not happy to have all of this stuff," she said.

"We don't want it, it's not our spirit. Our spirit is our country, our country where our ancestors been born.

"We want our country to be safe."