Australia is set to provide better health care to aboriginal natives who were exposed to radiation from nuclear tests conducted by the UK during the 1950s and 1960s in a remote area of the country, officials said on Tuesday.

The nuclear weapons tests were conducted in Maralinga y Emu Field in South Australia and around Western Australia’s Monte Bello Islands, Efe news reported.

“Subject to the passage of legislation, the measure will provide Gold Cards to Indigenous people present at or near Maralinga, Emu Fields or the Monte Bello Islands at the time of the British nuclear tests in the 1950s or 1960s,” said Veterans’ Affairs Minister Dan Tehan.

As per the measure, the government will bear the health care cost of indigenous people affected by the nuclear tests as part of a package for military personnel and veterans affairs that will likely be announced in Parliament Tuesday as part of the national budget.

Although a large number of people from Maralinga and its surrounding areas were relocated when the nuclear tests were conducted, an investigating commission found in the 1980s that many natives who were not transferred from the area, that spreads over almost 1,000 sq.km, were exposed to high levels of radiation that led to ill health, including injuries and disability. 

First Published | 9 May 2017 2:27 PM
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