Kimba landowners explain why they nominated

29 May 2017

Breatt Rayner and grandson

Two Kimba landowners, Brett Rayner (pictured right) and Jeff Baldock, have each nominated sites for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

Here the two farmers outline in their own words why they nominated their land.

Brett Rayner, cereal farmer, sheep grazier and grandfather, “Lyndhurst”

“Initially I was against the project. I was brought up in an era of nuclear bombs and ‘nuclear’ was a big no-no word. But now I know more about nuclear than I ever did. I went to a community meeting and heard a few more facts and realised there were opportunities out there for the community.

What swayed me most was hearing ecologist John Read explain how the environment was protected at the uranium mine at Roxby Downs.

“In terms of agricultural reputation, these sorts of facilities operate in other parts of the world and it doesn’t affect their farming reputation. Also, the proposed facility we’re talking about is only for the management of waste. There have been some incidents around the world involving nuclear power stations but this proposed facility won’t be a power station.

“The biggest benefit to our town, if the storage and disposal site is finally located here, will be the jobs. At least 15 full time equivalent jobs to operate the facility doesn’t sound like much but I believe there will be a snowball effect as it prompts other jobs to permeate through the town.

"If 15 people with full time jobs both have partners then the facility is supporting 30 people. If each of those couples have a child then that’s another school teacher for the town. The supermarket might need another staff member.”

Jeff Baldock, third generation Kimba farmer, “Napandee”

“We believe in the project and have done so since we did our research in the beginning – we visited ANSTO and saw how the waste was stored for ourselves. The more we learned, the more confident about it we became.

“We’ll be giving up 100 hectares of land but generations of our family will still be farming around it. We’ll be closer than anyone if our nominated site is eventually chosen as the final site. We’ll continue growing wheat, barley, oats, canola and peas and grazing sheep. My sons are fourth generation farmers here and we believe their children will be
farmers here too.

“A lot of people originally opposed to this were told we wouldn’t be able to sell our grain because of the facility but that’s not correct. They’ve since come to us and said, ‘Sorry we were opposed to this originally but what we were told sounded scary’.

“In terms of our export markets, Japan, China and South Korea have nuclear energy. The largest exporters of grain in the world, the United States and Russia, both have significant nuclear programs.

“There are radioactive waste management facilities in high value agricultural areas across the world including in the Champagne region of France, and as a French delegation told us when they visited Kimba earlier this year, being close to the facility has not impacted agricultural reputation, product
quality or price.

“We’ve done what we can to provide people all the factual information. We respect all opinions. We’ve never told anyone what their opinion should be.

“Everyone has lots of ideas about how Kimba can be developed, but all of these ideas cost money. This project will bring a $2 million Community Benefit Programme.

“It will bring economic benefits to the community, for example people have told us they’d like to see improved aged care facilities and investment in agriculture.

“In terms of the 60ha buffer surrounding the 40ha site footprint, I’d like to see that used for agricultural research, helping to increase production in the region. I’d also like to see the produce from this buffer zone tested with results shared with the grains industry as well as the public to demonstrate the safety of the facility – this would demonstrate there are no impacts caused by the facility.

“The project team is available every week in Kimba for face to face meetings and they’re easy to talk to.”