The Walkatjurra Walkabout Fundraiser has raised just enough money to support local involvement in this year’s walk.
By
Laura Morelli

12 Aug 2016 - 3:37 PM  UPDATED 12 Aug 2016 - 3:50 PM

The Ngalia word - Walkatjurra means to apply paint, apply writing and to pass on knowledge. 

The walk began on 11 August and will continue for an entire month, starting at the gates of Toro Energy, the proposed Wiluna uranium mine, and is expected to finish in Leonora.

There are two uranium mine proposals that are under assessment in the Northern Goldfields - Wiluna Extension and Yeelirrie.

As the West Australian Environmental Protection Authority and the State Environment Minister consider these proposals, people are walking to reconnect to country, in a bid to demonstrate that uranium mining is unnecessary, unwanted and unsafe.

Kado Muir, Traditional Owner, Yeelirrie says this walk is about uniting to protect our land.

"This is the sixth year in a row and were really grateful and honoured to have people from all over the world help us defend our country," he said.

"It's a battle that we as the younger generation can participate in, just like our ancestors who stood up to this over 40 years ago, when i was still a kid... now we are able to take custodianship of the land and be supported by people around the globe to walk with us and protect our country." 

With a state election looming and both a state Labor and Greens party in opposition to uranium mining, the group is hopeful that they’ll be able to stop the threat of uranium mining in a unique desert environment.

Nuclear Free Campaigner, Mia Pepper says there’s a renewed sense of hope in the community.

“Following last week’s EPA decision to reject the Yeelirrie uranium mine proposal there is a renewed sense of hope in the community, from the Traditional Owners,” she said.

“Traditional Owners in the area have been fighting against this industry for over 40 years, so this is such a relief for those communities. The EPA is still considering the proposed Wiluna mine and we hope that they also look at the precautionary principle and inter-generation equity at this proposed mine.”

Pepper says the walk couldn’t have come at a better time.

“The walk comes at an important time as WA uranium companies are racing to get approval before the WA state election next year. Here in WA there is no bipartisan support for uranium mining, so we are hoping to see this industry end before it’s even started.”

The turnout has been immense with huge national and international participation rates and Pepper says they've gathered in a bid to protect their land all together. 

“The beginning of the walk has been amazing with people from all over the world, be it France, Chile, Japan, Germany and the United States, they’ve all come to witness the on-ground impacts of uranium mining here in Australia and share their stories about the other end of the industry.”

Australian Nuclear Free Alliance is being held in Kalgoorlie this year, and the Walkatjurra Walkabout Fundraiser has raised enough money to cover fuel, travel costs, accommodation for the delegates and food for local involvement in the walk.

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