Australian news, and some related international items

Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells wants Port Kembla as nuclear submarine base – Dr Helen Caldicott and Wollongong Council disagree

Port Kembla the ‘obvious choice’ for nuclear submarine base, Liberal Senator says

ABC Illawarra / By Tim Fernandez 8 Mar 2022  Port Kembla could become the home of the first major military base to be built in Australia in more than 20 years, but the prospect of nuclear activity in the region has split the community. 

Key points:

  • Concetta Fierravanti-Wells says Port Kembla is the “obvious choice” for the base
  • Nobel Prize-winning anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott says the base will turn Wollongong into a military target
  • Wollongong has been a nuclear-free city since 1980

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed yesterday that a submarine base would be built on Australia’s east coast as part of the AUKUS partnership with the US and the UK.

Port Kembla, Newcastle and Brisbane have been floated as possible locations for the base, but the ABC understands Wollongong is the Defence Department’s preferred site.

…………………   Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells has been advocating for the Garden Island Naval Base in Sydney to be moved to Port Kembla since 2015.

‘Vote-buying gimmick’

The South Coast has a long history of community opposition to nuclear projects and the identification of Port Kembla as a possible destination for nuclear assets has reignited the debate.

One of the pioneers of the Australian anti-nuclear movement, Helen Caldicott, has spent decades raising awareness of the nuclear threat and won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for her work.

The Berry resident believed the base would pose an unmanageable risk to the area.

“Huge amounts of money being spent, nuclear activity at Port Kembla, which is always dangerous, and making it a target in the event of war, like Pine Gap,” Dr Caldicott said.

“It is just a vote-buying gimmick, obviously, when the Prime Minister should be spending that sort of money on the people in Lismore, many of whom have lost their houses.

“I think it should be treated with cynicism, and for Port Kembla to understand the dangers — both with dealing with nuclear activities and making it a possible target.”

The Labor Party supports the AUKUS partnership, but its candidate in the Wollongong-based seat of Cunningham, Alison Byrnes, has criticised the government’s secrecy around the plan.

“It has been really disrespectful for our community — they deserve to have all the details,” she said.

“The Prime Minister is using national security for his own job security, which suits his political timeline and not national security priorities.”

Nuclear-free zone

Wollongong council has been a nuclear-free zone since 1980 and in 2019 the council adopted the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons………………….

March 12, 2022 - Posted by | New South Wales, weapons and war

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