Walk for Peace and a Nuclear Free Cockburn Sound


Sunday 29 October 2023 8.30am – 4.30pm 

Walk schedule and key media opportunities:

8:30am – meeting at BAE Systems security gate at the northern end of the BAE compound Quill Way, Henderson walking south towards Kwinana Beach

1pm – lunch break at Wells Park, Kwinana Beach, the walk will continue along the Rockingham foreshore 

4.30pm – finish at the HMAS Stirling Pass Office, Peron

On Sunday 29 October, concerned community members from the Cockburn Sound area will be joined by anti-nuclear, anti AUKUS and peace activists to walk approximately 24 kilometres from BAE Systems in Henderson to the HMAS Stirling Pass Office at Peron, opposite Garden Island.

The Walk is hosted by Nuclear Free WA and Stop AUKUS WA and aims to raise awareness of the nuclear and safety risks of the AUKUS trilateral security agreement between the US, UK and Australia. 

The walk demonstrates strong opposition to the planned increased visits and future rotations (as of 2027) of US and UK nuclear powered submarines and the further AUKUS plan to home port* Australia’s acquired 3-5 Virginia Class nuclear powered submarines (as of 2030’s) at HMAS Stirling in Cockburn Sound.

BAE Systems is one of the world’s largest weapons corporations and Australia’s largest defence contractor. BAE Systems UK is the key designer-builder of the new UK and Australian SSN-AUKUS class nuclear powered submarines.

KA Garlick, walk organiser and Co-Convenor of Nuclear Free WA said “The AUKUS pact was signed without a debate in Parliament. It threatens to undermine the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to which Australia is a signatory.

“We oppose the nuclearisation of Australia. The war in Ukraine has been a constant reminder of the devastation of war and the risks associated with nuclear reactors. Nuclear Powered submarines house naval reactors and the AUKUS ones use highly enriched uranium.

“We need dialogue and peace in our region – not to further increase the arms race which only benefits weapons companies. Current global tensions and the horrific genocide of Palestinians by a nuclear armed state as is Israel makes a Peace Walk in these times so important.” 

Chris Johansen from Stop AUKUS WA’s Nuclear Free Cockburn Sound campaign said “Nuclear powered (and possibly armed) submarines and warships place our communities, public health and safety, marine life and environment at risk. If there is an incident the impacts will be huge and intergenerational.

“The increased presence of these submarines will change our access to Cockburn Sound for fishing and boating and there has been no assessment of the environmental impacts from the upgrades to HMAS Stirling and increased traversing of nuclear submarines through Cockburn Sound.

“Nuclear powered submarines in Cockburn Sound risks making us a military target should hostilities break out in our region involving the US.”

Rockingham resident and Stop AUKUS campaigner, Heike Kavanagh is concerned “people in Rockingham sit at cafes and swim at the Rockingham foreshore just a several kilometres from HMAS Stirling, oblivious to the risks of accidents, being a military target and possible future access restrictions in some areas in Cockburn Sound.”

“Our hospital and health workers are already under enormous strain without the increased probability of a radiation emergency brought about by foreign nuclear submarines. People are unaware of the response and emergency plans. Our community needs to be better informed about the risks and the emergency response plans. 

“You don’t stop war by increasing arms.”

The Walk acknowledges the lands and waters of Derbal Nara (Cockburn Sound) are unceded and is a timely call for Peace.

Details about the walk can be found here: https://nuclearfreewa.com/event/peacewalk/

Media Contacts: