A site for Australia’s first nuclear waste dump will not be decided until after the next federal election, Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick says.
Two sites near Kimba, 460 kilometres northwest of Adelaide, and one site near Hawker in the Flinders Ranges have been shortlisted.
Community ballots were scheduled for August 20 and stalled by a legal challenge from the Barngarla people.
They argued all Traditional Owners should be eligible to vote, including those not living within the shire’s boundaries.
The next court hearing has been scheduled for January 30.
Mr Patrick said that Resources Minister Matt Canavan does not want the issue to overlap with the federal election.
“He doesn’t want a ballot in Kimba and Hawker happening at around about the same time as the election, he said it sort of confuses the issues,” the Centre Alliance senator told NITV News.
“In my view they simply won’t want to agitate this issue as there is huge division in both communities. They won’t want to agitate this issue this side of the election.”
Regina McKenzie, an Adnyamathanha Elder who opposes the waste dump, hopes to preserve her people’s songlines.
“I would love to see the Traditional Owners be respected and consulted the appropriate way,” she said.
Vince Coulthard, CEO of the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association, has welcomed the ballot being postponed.
“The current government isn’t listening to us as Traditional Owners," he said.
"This is in some ways good for us. It gives us more time to lobby.”