MEDIA RELEASE AUSTRALIAN NUCLEAR FREE ALLIANCE
1st May 2012
DEMOCRACY AT A PRICE: DECISION BY BHP BILLITON AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO SEEK COSTS FROM ARABUNNA ELDER PUNITIVE AND VINDICTIVE
The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) is deeply concerned by the decision of BHP Billiton and the Federal Government to seek costs from Arabunna elder uncle Kevin Buzzacott arising from his challenge of the Federal approval of the Olympic Dam expansion.
“ANFA members fully support Uncle Kevin and admire his stand for country. We know that history will be the fairest judge of this struggle. BHP and the minister who approved the expansion of Olympic Dam will be forever linked to the toxic legacy of this mine, for thousands of years to come,” said Larrakia woman Donna Jackson, co-chair of ANFA.
“The court decided that Kevin Buzzacott had standing to pursue this challenge, as is his right under both the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act and the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act,” said ANFA Committe member Nectaria Calan. “Where does this leave the right to judicial review of such projects if those who seek such a review are then punished with costs?”
Dean Della Vale, president of BHP’s Uranium Customer Sector Group which is responsible for the Olympic Dam project, is a founding member of the Australian Uranium Associations Indigenous Dialogue Group, established to facilitate dialogue with traditional owners.
BHP  pursuing costs undermines any claims by the Indigenous Dialogue Group that they are seeking to engage with aboriginal communities in good faith. Aboriginal communities do not have the right to say no to mining on their land, and here we have an elder using one of the few legal options available to them to ensure that at least the impacts of the project were properly considered, and they may be facing a massive bill for doing so,” said Ms Calan.
“The message BHP are sending is that there are repercussions for taking on the mining giant. Last financial year the company recorded a total net profit of US$23. 95 billion – they certainly don’t need the money,” Ms Calan concluded.
For comment contact:
Donna Jackson  + 61 427 847 186
Legal commentary: Nectaria Calan  + 61 432 388 665
For background, see https://londonminingnetwork.org/2012/04/bhp-billiton-wants-money-from-aboriginal-elder/.