Australian news, and some related international items

Divisions in Labor, over nuclear waste dump plan

Federal Labor divided over plans to block SA’s nuclear waste dump facility, The Age, By Rob Harris, October 5, 2020 — A 40-year effort to establish a nuclear waste dump in remote South Australia faces a rocky passage through Federal Parliament after Labor signalled it is prepared to block the Morrison government’s attempts to resolve the long-running debate.

The decision, rubber-stamped by the federal caucus in lengthy debate on Monday, has sparked further divisions within the opposition, with veteran senators Alex Gallacher and Kim Carr expressing fierce criticism of their party’s position.

There are also concerns within federal Labor that its stance could unwittingly hand Prime Minister Scott Morrison a double-dissolution trigger should the crossbench sink the laws.

The government intends to introduce legislation to finally establish a low- and medium-level nuclear waste facility at Napandee, a farm on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, having spent seven years and more than $60 million finding a suitable home……..

Labor will seek to amend the laws so that the minister responsible, Resources Minister Keith Pitt, can use existing powers to nominate any site under the current legislation. Labor says the changes would still give the local community access to a significant community fund on offer and would ensure the decision be subject to a judicial review.

Seven Labor MPs spoke up in the debate over the legislation, which lasted for more than an hour………

Opposition science spokesman Brendan O’Connor said federal Labor supported the need for a national facility to store radioactive waste.

This government has had existing powers under the current legislation for the past seven years to determine a site, but under the guise of compensation has sought to remove proper scrutiny, through this proposed legislation,” he said.

“This is a contentious issue and should be subject to the highest levels of scrutiny to ensure that the principles of procedural fairness and natural justice have been applied given the national significance of this matter.”……..

A Senate committee last month recommended the legislation be supported but three members – the Greens’ Sarah Hanson-Young, Independent senator Rex Patrick and Labor senator Jenny McAllister – issued dissenting reports.

Senator McAllister said the proposed facility had not received the support of the relevant traditional owners in South Australia.

October 6, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics

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