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Issue #1531      14 December 2011

We won’t accept nuclear waste

Our Premier Barry O’Farrell has graciously decided to dump radioactive waste from the old Hunters Hill uranium smelter on the working class community of Lidcombe.

O’Farrell let slip that the waste will be stored at a facility on Weerona Road, Lidcombe run by the misnamed Department of Environment and Heritage. It seems the good people of Lidcombe are worth a lot less than the residents of wealthy Hunters Hill in the eyes of the Liberal government.

I know this area well having worked at the analytical laboratory in the same road for 25 years since the early 1970s. I was outraged to learn that the storage facility next door to where I worked has been storing nuclear waste for 20 years. This was kept secret by both Liberal and Labor state governments.

This area had been home to the Lidcombe Hospital now closed, a Multiple Sclerosis Centre, and Ferguson Lodge, a home for paraplegics, a TAFE college and a campus of Sydney University. All of these people, residents and workers had no idea they were next door to a nuclear waste facility, so much for accountability and our so called great democracy.

But worse still in recent years with increasing population density and the rapid rise of high rise in the Auburn local government area, the land that was occupied by Lidcombe Hospital was privatised and sold to the developer Australand.

In recent years Australand has developed a housing estate “Botanica” with more than 200 homes built next door to the nuclear waste storage facility. Within a one kilometre radius of the site is residential housing in Regents Park and Berala.

Residents are fuming, most moving into the area in the last two years not knowing the dark secret lurking next door. Residents are adamant they won’t accept becoming a dumping ground for Nuclear Waste from Hunters Hill.

The Auburn local government area already has a high concentration of dirty industries which include a medical waste incinerator for most of metropolitan Sydney’s waste, a liquid waste facility, a large waste transfer station at Clyde and two other waste centres, all are in close vicinity of new residential housing developments.

Of course, local residents are angry that our suburb is being used as a dumping ground for Sydney’s toxic waste and a campaign is underway with petitions, a Facebook page protesting nuclear waste being dumped in Lidcombe and so far 10,000 leaflets have been distributed in the local area.  

Next article – Growing class struggle against employer offensive

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