Australian news, and some related international items

Resources Minister Pitt changes nuclear waste Bill in the effort to gain Labor’s support.

Nuclear waste storage facility legislation changed in bid to gain Labor support, secure Kimba site” – The Advertiser 14th June 2021.

“A nuclear waste storage facility in regional South Australia is one step closer, [really?] with the Federal Government making changes in a fresh bid to get the controversial plan through parliament.

Napandee Farm near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula was named as the preferred site in February 2020 but draft laws to establish the facility have been stalled in parliament for months .

The federal Opposition won’t back the bill in its current form because naming the site in legislation, rather than declaring it by a ministerial decision, prevents a possible future legal challenge to the location.The federal government is now proposing changes that would reinsert the possibility for a judicial review, in a bid to win Labor’s support and get the laws through the Senate.

Under the changes, a site would no longer be specified but three previously short-listed locations – Lyndhurst in New South Wales, Napandee near Kimba, and Wallerberdina in the Flinders Ranges – would be included in the bill and the minister would then be required to declare the site…….

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese’s frontbench is due to consider the amendments on Monday night and the bill may go before the Senate in the next two weeks.

Indigenous associations, including the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation, have been opposed to the site because traditional land owners who did not live in the area were excluded from a 2019 ballot to gauge community support for the site.

Kimba Mayor Dean Johnson said the community just wanted a decision.“We just look forward to a resolution so our community can move forward,” Mr Johnson said. He welcomed changes to the draft laws if it would secure Labor’s support, and said the minister should declare the site “as soon as possible”…

Australian Conservation Foundation Nuclear Free Campaigner David Sweeney said Mr Pitt had “finally accepted the reality” the proposal did not have support and needed to be revised.

“The return of legal review is important but it is extraordinary that the Minister ever thought its removal was reasonable,” Mr Sweeney said.“A day in court is a fundamental right and to seek to remove this was deeply flawed – as is the government’s wider plan.”…….

Mr Sweeney said there was no compelling case to move intermediate level waste from ANSTO’s site to Kimba, and it had been opposed by the traditional owners.He added the reintroduction of Wallerberdina, which was ruled out in 2019, showed the government was “making policy on the run”.

Most South Australians “don’t want the country’s nuclear waste dump in our backyard,” Senator Hanson Young said.She also raised concerns the amendments opened the door to the minister selecting the Flinders Ranges site.Greens senator Sarah Hanson Young said it appeared the Federal Government and Labor had done a deal to pass the bill.

“We will use all mechanisms available in the Senate over the next two weeks to stop this bill passing, and I suspect our fellow crossbenchers will do the same,” she said.”

June 15, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics

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