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Update - Kakadu / Jabiluka

21 July 1999

Kia ora, for those of you who have been involved in the attempt to have Kakadu national park listed on the World Heritage Committee 'in-danger' list. While the WHC decided not to add Kakadu to the list, they did however put certain requirements on the Australian government. These may act to delay the opening of the Jabiluka uranium mine - see first press release from the Gundjehmi Aboriginal Corporation below.

The second release outlines the Report of the Senate Inquiry; the release was sent out on 30 June and we are including it today as the two releases together give a succinct summary of the problems with Jabiluka.

1) World Heritage Committee's Grave concern leads to 18 month suspension at Jabiluka

13th July 1999

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has found that the Jabiluka uranium mine poses serious negative impact to the values of Kakadu National Park.

The "grave concerns" expressed by the Committee and accepted by the Australian government have seen the project placed on hold for at least 18 months pending decisions on its cultural impact.

The Australian government is required to report to the World Heritage Committee by April next year with an explanation of how Jabiluka can proceed without damaging Mirrar cultural values.

Executive Officer of Gundjehmi Aboriginal Corporation Jacqui Katona said today, "The Mirrar people now have a transparent process which we believe will lead to Jabiluka being discontinued."

"We are extremely confident we can demonstrate beyond doubt the incompatibility of the Jabiluka project with the cultural values of Kakadu."

"The World Heritage Committee and the Australian government have accepted the profound sincerity in the Mirrar peopleís opposition to Jabiluka on cultural grounds." "We believe that over the next 18 months Mirrar opposition to Jabiluka will prevail." Ms Katona said.

- Gundjehmi Aboriginal Corporation

2) Senate Report Undermines Jabiluka

30th June 1999

The Report of the Senate Inquiry into the Jabiluka Project signals the "beginning of the end" for the doomed uranium mine.

The detailed, exhaustive and independent examination of Jabiluka by the Senate Environment and Heritage Committee has confirmed that further development of the proposed uranium mine faces insurmountable obstacles.

The Report, backed by a clear majority of the Australian Senate, has found that:

i) ERA has no approval for an economically or environmentally viable method of milling ore from Jabiluka and is unlikely to proceed with the project while the Mirrar withhold consent for ERAís preferred milling option. The Mirrar have affirmed that such consent shall never be given.

ii) The proposed Jabiluka uranium mine poses a grave threat to the natural and cultural heritage values of Kakadu National Park. Accordingly Kakadu should be included on the List of World Heritage In Danger.

iii) The 1982 Jabiluka Agreement was negotiated under questionable circumstances.

iv) Compelling evidence exists to support the position of Traditional Owners and Custodians that the Boyweg-Almudj Sacred Site Complex is of great significance to local Aboriginal people and will be severely impacted upon by the Jabiluka Project.

Executive Officer for the Gundjehmi Aboriginal Corporation said today:

"This is one more nail in ERAís coffin. Their mine proposal is in tatters. Their complete disregard for Aboriginal cultural concerns has been exposed. Yet another independent assessment has found massive environmental and cultural flaws in the approval process."

"There can be no credible claim from the Australian Government that this Report is anything other than an exceptionally well-researched document based on sound and verifiable evidence. In contrast, the minority report prepared by Government Senators is shallow in the extreme and once more demonstrates the inability of this Government to address the substantive environmental and cultural dangers of Jabiluka."

Jacqui Katona, Yvonne Margarula and other Traditional Owners will travel to Paris next week to present their case to the World Heritage Committee for inclusion of Kakadu on the List of World Heritage In Danger.

- Gundjehmi Aboriginal Corporation

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