Australian news, and some related international items

Labor Party – State and National opinions on the plan for nuclear waste dump at Kimba, South Australia

Labor opinions on the waste dump (state and federal)

The Transcontinental Oct 2019 (Pt Augusta newspaper)

Deputy Opposition leader slams federal government’s nuclear waste site selection process

“We are utterly opposed to the process,” says Deputy Leader of the Opposition Susan Close regarding the current federal approach to a national radioactive waste facility in regional South Australia.

“We understand there is a need to do something with Australia’s domestic waste but they have gone about it so badly that they have put the community off.

“They haven’t done the due consideration that they ought to be doing of what the possibilities physically are.”

At a recent state conference, the South Australian Labor Party adopted a policy contesting the federal government’s site nomination and selection process.

They have called for full transparency, broad public input and best practice technical and consultative standards.

Ms Close condemned the federal government’s current approach to building a potential facility at sites in Kimba and Hawker.

“It is a federal issue but we just have a view about it that they have gone about it in an appalling way,” Ms Close said.

“They get to make the decision, we don’t have have any capacity even if we were in government to do anything, but what they have done is asked landholder if anyone wants to have this and left the Aboriginal community out.

“For some reason, the only three sites they are looking at are in South Australia which is very strange.”

ALP Media Release “Kimba site selection process flawed, waste dump plans must be scrapped. (Kimba is in Eddie Hughes’s electorate). Sept 15, 2020

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Environment Susan Close

“This was a dreadful process from start to finish, resulting in fractures within the local community over the dump.
The SA ALP has committed to traditional owners having a right of veto over any nuclear waste sites, yet the federal government has shown no respect to the local Aboriginal people.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Giles Eddie Hughes

“This report clearly reflects that any mediation undertaken with the Barngarla people did not have any legal or political weight.

This has been a very divisive process from the beginning due to individual land owners nominating the sites.

Instead of rushing this quick fix by dumping in SA, the federal government should do the work on a long-term plan for the management of nuclear waste in Australia.
We clearly have an obligation to manage our domestic nuclear waste in a responsible way for the long term. This proposal falls far short of meeting that obligation.”

ALP Assistant Shadow Minister for the Environment Josh Wilson MP has stated in a speech “Social license missing from Coalition’s nuclear push” to federal Parliament (11 June 2020): 

“But where is the evidence that there is any problem with the intermediate-level waste staying where it is, as it should do, until the government of Australia identifies and resources an appropriate permanent disposal site for intermediate-level waste? … But the claims that the government and government members in this place have made that intermediate-level storage needs to go to South Australia because there’s no room for it and that there are health and safety concerns about where it is currently are rubbish. And so it should stay where it is as a spur to the government to get on with the process, which currently hasn’t even started, of finding and resourcing a permanent-level disposal site. That is not occurring. … They need to immediately start and resource the process of a permanent disposal site for intermediate-level waste. They should commit to maintaining that waste where it is currently stored…” 

ALP Senator Murray Watt stated in regard to a NRWMF Bill 2020 (Hansard p.20-21, 21 June 2021): “… Labor will act in accordance with scientific evidence and with full transparency, broad public input and best-practice technical and consultative standards, taking into account the views of traditional owners, to progress responsible radioactive waste management. … Labor is concerned that, to date, the government has been unable to provide any assurances on progress towards establishing a permanent facility for intermediate-level waste. We note that the community will expect a clear plan for a permanent facility to safely secure intermediate waste. It is hard to understand why, to date, so few resources have been allocated to the creation of a permanent, intermediate-level waste storage facility. In the absence of such resources or planning, the government should explain why the existing intermediate-level waste should be moved from one temporary storage facility to another. Labor will continue to hold the government to account and press for the department to explain how it plans to establish a permanent underground repository for waste of this nature.” 

Labor Premier Mike Rann successfully fought the Howard government over a federal nuclear waste dump and Premier Jay Weatherill committed in 2017-18 to an Indigenous right of veto over any federal nuclear waste dump siting on their lands in SA. All South Australians have a right to a Say.   

The SA legislation:

Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000

We have SA legislation prohibiting the building of a dump, but according to the constitution, federal legislation overrides state legislation whenever there is a conflict. I’ve asked both Peter Malinauskas and Susan Close if SA Parliament would need to overturn our state prohibition legislation before building a dump, but they don’t know.  The legislation requires “A Public inquiry into the environmental and socio-economic impact of nuclear waste storage facility if a licence or authority to construct a facility is granted.” – we need to ask Labor to do all they can to make sure this happens.
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People re Hazardous Waste disposalThe “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People” (2007) Article 29 calls on States “to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous material shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free prior and informed consent.”

August 12, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

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