VYAC leader outlines position

26 May 2017

Viliwarinha Yura Aboriginal Corporation Dawn Likouresis

The National Radioactive Waste Management Facility project team is consulting with Aboriginal community members regarding the nominated site at Wallerberdina Station, near Hawker in South Australia.

The Viliwarinha Yura Aboriginal Corporation (VYAC) is an important part of the Indigenous community in the Flinders Ranges.

Here VYAC chair Dawn Likouresis explains how her community views the project.

“The majority of our community would like the facility to go ahead. The VYAC members have room for their own opinions and at a recent special meeting VYAC held a ballot for the project and 85% of members who voted were in favour.

“Some people left the room and didn’t vote. You’re going to have a few people that don’t want it but a lot of our community is very positive about this. When the project team first came I was not against the project, but I was very sceptical about it. Then a group of us went to see
the waste at Lucas Heights and we were educated in how the facility was run. I learned a lot.

“It would be good if we could take the whole community there to see how the facility is run so people can make their own decisions.

“A lot of Aboriginal people and their communities face everyday life with drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, unemployment, dispossession and very high suicide rates.

“I see something for our grandchildren and our great grandchildren in the establishment of this facility – to know that something’s going to happen for the younger generation to get job opportunities.

“I want our young people to be able to further their skills to obtain jobs. Jobs lead to confidence and ambition. I’d like to see Aboriginal people owning their own homes without having to pay dead money for rent.

“This facility gives our community hope. A lot of people in Australia say Aboriginal people get everything given to them – for example cars and houses. But we’re just like everyone else. We have to work for our cars and homes.

“Unemployment benefits play a major role in the community dueto the lack of support and jobs. This facility will be made up of some buildings on some land.

"The facility won’t destroy our culture because our culture is passed down from generation to generation. Buildings come and go but the culture will live on through our generations. Cattle, rabbits and foxes do more damage than buildings. I see a big vision for the benefits this facility can bring.”