Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Labor has-been Gareth Evans still pro nuclear, sabotaging the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty

That treaty is now considered a huge success with 164 state parties. Evans was wrong then and he is wrong again now on the nuclear weapon ban treaty.”
According to Ican, 78% of the federal Labor caucus have pledged to work for Australia to sign and ratify the treaty, including two-thirds of the shadow cabinet.

Labor set for nuclear showdown as Gareth Evans warns of risk to US alliance, Guardian, Paul Karp

The former foreign affairs minister made the comments to Guardian Australia on the sidelines of Labor’s national conference, intervening in a dispute over how to translate in-principle support for disarmament into practical action.

The showdown set for Tuesday pits the Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese against the party’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Penny Wong, two traditional Labor left allies divided by conditions to be put on joining the treaty.

Guardian Australia understands that Albanese has registered an amendment proposing to sign and ratify the nuclear weapons ban treaty immediately to send a strong signal in favour of disarmament and noting that Australia can seek changes after it joins. Continue reading

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December 18, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s Liberal National govt will use tax-payer funds to promote new and existing coal mines

Coalition signals it will provide taxpayer support for new and existing coal plants. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/13/coalition-signals-it-will-provide-taxpayer-support-for-new-and-existing-coal-plants Katharine Murphy Political editor @murpharoo 13 Dec 2018

Morrison government specifies generation projects will need to be coal, gas, batteries or pumped hydro to be eligible for underwriting The Morrison government has sent a clear signal that it is prepared to provide taxpayer support for both new and existing coal plants, opening registrations of interest in its controversial new power generation underwriting program.

With the government accelerating to cover off major announcements before the Christmas break, the energy minister, Angus Taylor, will on Thursday use an event at a hydro power station in Tasmania to outline the terms of the new program and urge proponents to get their bids in over the summer break – before 23 January.

As well as finalising the criteria for the underwriting program, and calling for expressions of interest, the government is also expected to outline its response to the Ruddock review into religious freedom, and unveil its decision on Australian diplomatic facilities in Israel, before the end of the week.

Taylor will confirm on Thursday that the underwriting program – which has been criticised by business groupsand energy stakeholders – will potentially fund generation projects including new builds and brownfield projects, like upgrades or life extensions of existing coal generators.

Taxpayer support will be made available to projects through a range of financing options such as underwriting floor prices, underwriting cap prices, grants and loans – although the finalised program guidelines makes it clear that the amount of support available under each phase of the program, and the extent of taxpayer liability, will be capped.

The government has not published an upper limit on the size of eligible projects but the minimum eligible project size will be 30MW

The criteria makes it clear that the program is technology neutral but it also specifies that generation projects will need to be coal, gas, batteries or pumped hydro to be eligible for the government underwriting.

The document calling for expressions of interest does not supply any specific guidance on the emissions intensity of the projects. It says only that projects delivering an electricity product at a lower emissions intensity “will be deemed higher merit.”

It also makes clear the program will also be open to foreign investors in the event the proposal can clear Foreign Investment Review Board processes.

As to timing, the document suggests phase one is anticipated to commence in the first quarter of 2019 – which puts some of the decision making pre-election in the event the government goes to the polls in April.

Labor and the Greens are opposed to any taxpayer support for coal projects, and will continue efforts once parliament resumes next year to try and frustrate the Coalition’s program, potentially by attempting to amend the government’s “big stick” divestiture bill, which stalled in the final sitting week, to include a prohibition on power companies receiving commonwealth support.

As well as the underwriting, Taylor has also flagged the possible indemnification of projects from the future risk of a carbon price.

There is speculation around the energy sector that the government underwriting proposal could facilitate an extension of the Vales Point power station near Lake Macquarie in New South Wales. It is owned by Trevor St Baker, who was vocal during a stakeholder session last month convened to discuss the underwriting program.

Ahead of Thursday’s announcement, Taylor said: “This program will drive down electricity prices for householders by increasing competition and increasing supply in the market.”

He said the objective was to produce a pipeline of projects “that will allow us to bring targeted generation into the system in the right place at the right time”.

December 15, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison and the Business Council are pushing coal – but on what evidence?

 Guardian, 14 Dec 18 

Despite plummeting costs of renewables the government and the BCA insist that emissions reduction would be ‘economy wrecking’

Fresh from losing the economic fight about company tax cuts, the Coalition government is doubling down on an economic fight about renewable energy. And yet again, as they march into battle they have the Business Council of Australia as their key source of economic and political advice. What could go wrong?

The cost of renewable energy has fallen dramatically in the past 10 years and will continue to fall for years to come. By some accounts, new renewables with storage are already cheaper than coal fired power stations. Some argue that they aren’t quite there yet. But no one argues that in 30 years’ time a new coal-fired power station that has to buy coal will be able to compete with a solar farm that gets its sunshine for free.

Betting on the future cost of renewables is like catching a falling knife, but if there is one thing that unites the Coalition and the BCA it’s that they aren’t averse to self-inflicted wounds. At precisely the time when the costs of renewables and storage are plummeting and the world is meeting in Poland to discuss reductions in fossil fuel use, the Liberal government and the peak body for the biggest businesses in Australia are united in arguing that a 45% emissions reduction target by 2030 would be – in the words of BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott – “economy wrecking”.

As with the failed campaign for company tax cuts, the nation’s prime minister is getting his talking points from the nation’s biggest lobbyists. In parliament last week Scott Morrison declared “a 45% target is economy wrecking”, adding to a scare-campaign designed to convince the Australian public that they have to choose between the environment they want for their kids and the jobs they want for them. It is sickening.

Not even the BCA’s own members believe the rhetoric of their peak body. Both Commonwealth Bank and Citi have renewable energy targets of 100% – Citi by 2020. Other BCA members like the CSIRO have put out a transition road map which includes 90% electricity generation from solar PV and wind by 2050 while maintaining reliability in the grid…………https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/13/scott-morrison-and-the-business-council-are-pushing-coal-but-on-what-evidence

December 15, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Promoting coal at UN Climate Summit, did Patrick Suckling speak officially for Australia?

Climate Mobilisation Australia, 11 Dec 18, The Australian Ambassador for the Environment, Patrick Suckling, appeared on a panel for a US government side-event pushing clean coal technologies as climate solutions. The session on Monday 10 December was called: “U.S. Innovative Technologies Spur Economic Dynamism – Promoting innovative approaches”.

One must ask was Ambassador Suckling’s presence sanctioned at Ministerial level? His attendance on the panel is hardly good diplomacy for Australia, even given the Liberal Government support for coal and weak climate targets and climate policy.

After about 9 minutes the first speaker was disrupted and youth and civil society delegates unfurled a banner and made their own testimonies on the disruptive and dangerous nature of coal for health and climate.

They chanted “Keep it in the ground” and “Shame on you”, before leaving the session. After they left, there were very few people to listen to the myths being spouted of clean coal.

Watch the Facebook Livestream video of young delegates taking over the side event about 9 minutes in and making their own testimony on the fossil fuel industry.

The Australia Institute Director of Climate & Energy Program Richie Merzian was there to document the session in the tweets below.

“How could this be good for Australia? The Ambassador finding himself in the middle of the largest cultural battle at #COP24” remarks Richie Merzian……  https://www.facebook.com/groups/859848424161990/

December 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s Liberal Coalition govt cosying up to coal megaminer Adani

Adani met with environment department 40 times in six months
Coalition ‘holding Adani’s hand’ through mine approvals, Greens senator says,
Guardian, Lisa Cox and Ben Smee, Tue 11 Dec 2018 
 The federal environment department had 40 meetings in six months with Adani representatives to discuss the Carmichael coalmine project, according to responses to a Senate estimates committee.The department met Adani executives in person at the company’s Brisbane offices, as well as conducting teleconferences, on matters including Adani’s groundwater management plans, the mine’s progress and proposals for the management of the threatened black-throated finch.

The environment minister, Melissa Price, and energy minister, Angus Taylor, met the company once each in Canberra. The meetings occurred between 7 May and 7 November this year and were tabled by the department in response to questions on notice from the Greens senator Larissa Waters.

Waters had asked at an estimates hearing in October if the department, minister or assistant minister had “met with Adani representatives or lobbyists in the past six months”.

She said on Tuesday the number of meetings suggested the department was “holding Adani’s hand through the approvals process”.

The number of meetings was evidence of the “cosy relationship” Adani had with the federal government, Waters said.

“The environment department is supposed to be a regulator and protector of our environment yet it’s holding Adani’s hand through the approvals process to get this mega coalmine off the ground.

“It shouldn’t be facilitating the development of a new dirty coalmine, it should be standing up for the best interests of our people and planet.”

The company announced late last month it would self-finance its controversial coalmine but it still requires approvals from state and federal governments for its groundwater-dependent ecosystem management plan and its management plan for the black-throated finch before significant work can start at the site.

The Queensland government is also under renewed pressure to rule out two potential subsidies to Adani.

The Mackay Conservation group released polling of marginal central Queensland electorates on Tuesday that showed 60% of people oppose any form of government subsidy. Only 22% supported subsidies, and 18% were unsure.

An Australia Institute report has found a potential royalties deferment deal would effectively be a low-interest loan to Adani, worth up to $385m.

The report also looked at $100m in road upgrades being considered by the Queensland government. It analysed approval plans for the Carmichael mine and found Adani’s vehicles “would be nearly all of the traffic on the road”.

Researcher Tom Swann, the author of the report, said: “The Queensland government has said repeatedly that it will not provide taxpayer funds to Adani, but Queenslanders are on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars because of these deals.”

The state government’s public statements on Adani have been sceptical in recent weeks since the announcement it would self-fund a slimmed down version of Carmichael.

The premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said last month, “We will believe it when we see it”.

The royalties deal, which has not yet been signed, was premised as support for the “first mover” in a coal basin………. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/11/adani-met-with-environment-department-40-times-in-six-months

December 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s dirty tricks in Poland: getting away with no reduction in greenhouse emissions

December 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, politics international | 1 Comment

It’s time: why Labor must join the global push to outlaw nuclear weapons

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/it-s-time-why-labor-must-join-the-global-push-to-outlaw-nuclear-weapons-20181206-p50kpx.htmlBy Robert Tickner, 10 December 2018 The key political players and decision makers of the Australian Labor Party are about to gather in Adelaide for their 48th national conference from next Sunday. They will consider Labor’s stand on a humanitarian issue that has been the focus of the party’s ideals and aspirations for decades. Will it back a new global move to outlaw nuclear weapons?

Support for signing and ratifying the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has already been endorsed by 78 per cent of members of the parliamentary Labor Party. They include national president Wayne Swan, deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen, Tony Burke, Mark Dreyfus, Mike Kelly, Joel Fitzgibbon, Linda Burney, Catherine King, Brendan O’Connor, Anthony Albanese and Patrick Dodson. More than 20 leading trade unions have joined the ACTU in this cause. Continue reading

December 10, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Students lead anti-Adani protests, vow to remove Liberal Party from power

Stop Adani protesters gather in cities, take aim at Scott Morrison’s activism comments, ABC News, 9 Dec 18 By Kevin Nguyen Student activists who felt the Prime Minister was condescending last week over climate issues have vowed to remove the Liberal Party from power — and keep it out — as long as it maintains its current policies.

Key points:

  • A national survey showed a majority of respondents supported student protests on climate change
  • Rallies took place in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns
  • Junior activists said the Prime Minister’s comments compelled them to march

Thousands of protesters gathered in capital cities on the east coast on Saturday in a coordinated march against Indian energy giant Adani’s Carmichael mine and rail project.

At the end of last month, Adani announced the scaled-back $2 billion controversial coal mine in the Galilee Basin would go ahead and would be 100 per cent self-financed, with work starting before Christmas.

While the attendees at the rally were diverse, it was school-aged students who were leading the crowds.

“It’s awful to see our leader feels like we shouldn’t have opinions and we shouldn’t care and they shouldn’t listen to us,” 14-year-old Jean Hinchliffe said in response to Mr Morrison’s calls last week for “less activism in schools”.

“It’s just atrocious. As students we are very informed and very educated and that’s why we’re taking action.

“We’re fighting for our own futures.”………

PM’s comments galvanised students

Like Jean, many young students who appeared at the rallies on Saturday were part of the thousands of Australian students who defied Scott Morrison’s call to stay in school.

While school-aged students will not be eligible to vote in next year’s federal and state elections, they are becoming the face of the Stop Adani and climate strike movements determined to make it a persistent election issue.

Daisy Jeffrey, 16, from Conservatorium High School in Sydney, said she was interested in a future in politics and Mr Morrison’s comments had galvanised her, and dozens of her peers, to take to the streets.

“It wasn’t disheartening, it made us more angry and more determined to go out on the streets,” Daisy said.

In addition to Sydney, rallies were held in Brisbane, Melbourne and Cairns.

n Melbourne, hundreds of people sat down in the middle of the busy Flinders Street intersection, blocking traffic in a bid to draw attention to their cause………https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-08/adani-student-protesters-vow-to-keep-liberals-out-of-power/10597022

December 10, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

No Australian policy on climate change as Melissa Price, Minister For Coal, heads off to U.N. climate talks

No climate consensus at ministers meeting https://au.news.yahoo.com/no-climate-consensus-ministers-meeting-033707782–spt.html, Angus Livingston, , Australian Associated Press, 7 December 2018

Australia’s state environment ministers are refusing to agree to a joint statement on climate change until the federal minister comes up with a plan to tackle it.

Melissa Price met with her state counterparts in Canberra on Friday and asked them to endorse a statement for her to take to a climate meeting in Katowice, Poland, on Saturday.

They refused because the government has no plan to tackle the problem.

“What I had suggested was that we had an agreed statement that we would all work together to determine an action plan with respect to climate, with respect to things that we can do individually and collectively,” Ms Price told reporters on Friday.

“Sadly that was not agreed. There was not an agreement on the words that I proposed, and no one proposed alternative words.”

The Labor governments of Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT released a joint statement condemning the lack of action.

“The science is frightening, unequivocal and clear – we are running out of time,” the statement said.

“Yet the response of successive Liberal prime ministers has been one of delusion and deliberate inaction.

“It is unacceptable that any action on climate change has again been left off the agenda at today’s meeting.”

The states demanded a boost to Australia’s overall output of renewable energy, stronger energy efficiency targets, and action on emissions across all sectors.

“It is time for the federal government to stop ‘noting’ the science around the impacts of climate change, and actually step up and take action,” Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said.

“It is unacceptable that there has been no progress on climate change by the federal government.”

Ms Enoch said she asked Ms Price to come back to the next meeting with an action plan of how to respond to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report’s findings about the dangers of 1.5 degree global warming.

“Unfortunately, the federal environment minister would not agree to undertake that important work,” she said.

December 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | 1 Comment

The fightback against Adani and Aurizon steps up

Margaret Gleeson, December 6, 2018, Issue 1206,  www.greenleft.org.au/content/fight-back-against-adani-and-aurizon-steps

“A reported 20,000 students, many of them with their parents and grandparents in tow, took to the streets with a powerful message to Adani and policymakers: ignore us at your peril.

This was followed by a sit-in at Parliament House in Canberra on December 5.

Another round of #StopAdani rallies has been called in BrisbaneCairnsMelbourne and Sydney on December 8. …

Adani has jumped the gun and started work illegally. Its use of groundwater is also the subject of a federal investigation. …

“The Supreme Court must decide if Aurizon, an enormously powerful and well connected corporation, should have the power to deny a small community group the right to inform Australians how to help to prevent this climate crisis.

“Obviously the people who make up FLAC have a direct interest in the outcome, but should this corporation succeed in gagging free speech to this degree, we will all be the worse for it.

“Finally, Aurizon’s action is based on the assumption that if FLAC stops training concerned citizens on how to take non-violent, safe, direct action, people will stop taking action. Unfortunately what may well happen is that people continue to act to prevent a climate catastrophe, but do so without the training, discipline or principles of non-violence.” … ‘

ReadMuchMuchMore of  Margaret Gleeson‘s comprehensive article at the #GreenLeft Sourcewww.greenleft.org.au/content/fight-back-against-adani-and-aurizon-steps

December 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Labor backs Greens plan to block Coalition from underwriting coal power 

Guardian, Katharine    Murphy Political editor @murpharoo, Tue 4 Dec 2018

Crossbenchers are being asked to support a bill preventing the signing of contracts before the next election Labor and the Greens will attempt to prevent the Morrison government from underwriting new coal-fired power as the energy policy battle moves into its next phase.

Labor on Tuesday resolved to support a Greens bill stopping the commonwealth from providing financial assistance to coal-fired power plants, and there is an effort to secure the requisite parliamentary numbers for an upset as the Morrison government moves ahead with its controversial energy package. Negotiations are under way with crossbenchers in both chambers.

The government secured a rubber stamp from the Coalition party room on Tuesday for policy measures aimed to reduce power prices, including a contentious divestiture power, but Guardian Australia revealed on Monday night ministers had to rework the original proposal substantially to head off a backbench revolt…….

The energy minister, Angus Taylor, who has signalled coal will be in the mix, with a possible indemnity against the risk of a future carbon price, declined to answer questions from journalists on Tuesday about whether the government would enter binding contracts with proponents before the next election, which would be difficult to unwind if the Morrison government loses next year.

The Greens, with support from Labor, are attempting to head that sortie off at the pass with the new private members’ bill. Discussions with the crossbench are under way in both chambers – but it is unclear whether the foray will succeed.

Greens MP Adam Bandt, who could be a crucial vote for the government on the divestiture package because the party is not opposed to the idea, warned the Coalition not to “rely on support from the Greens on energy issues while … trying to sign contracts for new coal-fired power stations”. …….. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/dec/04/labor-backs-greens-plan-to-block-coalition-from-underwriting-coal-power

December 6, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2013 | Leave a comment

Students left hanging during Canberra trip to confront Morrison on climate change

Guardian, 5 Dec 18,  Group rallies outside Parliament House after being told they needed to have a prearranged meeting organised. High school students from across Australia calling for emergency action on climate change have travelled to Canberra to confront the prime minister after he criticised them for skipping school to stage national strikes.

Students from Scott Morrison’s southern Sydney electorate of Cook – as well as Townsville, Melbourne and Brisbane – arrived at Parliament House on Wednesday morning to meet with him.

Morrison said he would sit down with the school students……..

But one group of 11 students gathered out the back of Parliament House in the hope of speaking to Morrison had not yet had any luck.

Fourteen-year-old Tully Bowtell-Young travelled solo from Townsville for the chance to share her concerns with the prime minister – using her own pocket money to help cover costs.

“I think it’s worthwhile because nothing I have now is going to mean anything if I don’t have a future in this world,” she said.

The striking students want federal policymakers to stop the Adani coalmine and move Australia from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy.

“We have been trying so much for the possibility of meeting with [Scott Morrison] but if we don’t get that opportunity after coming so far and going through so much to be here I think we will be a bit disheartened,” she said.

The group of students tried numerous times to call the prime minister’s office but were told they needed to have a prearranged meeting organised – in some instances they were hung up on.

Senator Jordan Steele-John and independent MP Kerryn Phelps both came out to meet with the students. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/05/school-students-protest-climate-change-canberra-morrison/

December 6, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Weird responses of righteous fury, against students who protested about about climate change

The weirdest right-wing takes on the student climate protest , Australia’s free speech warriors took a righteous stand against children fighting for their future. Crikey, DEC 03, 2018   After years of apocalyptic headlines and government intransigence on climate change, the sight of thousands of high school students packing Sydney’s Martin Place last Friday provided a jolt of much-needed hope for the future. Armed with loudspeakers, and some incredibly creative posters, the strike — which also took place in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Coffs Harbour, Bendigo and other city centres — represented part of a global surge of student-led climate change protests.

It also caused a surge of righteous fury among conservative politicians and commentators; a feeling that was not shared by most Australians who are more worried about climate change than ever, and increasingly are in favour of more renewable energy. Here’s a selection of the responses from those who chose to take a stand against the children advocating for their future: … (subscribers only) 

https://www.crikey.com.au/2018/12/03/student-climate-protest-takes/

December 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Striking school students are more likely to have successful careers

School strikers are going places but the dole queue isn’t one of them, https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/school-strikers-are-going-places-but-the-dole-queue-isn-t-one-of-them-20181202-p50jog.html, By Clive Hamilton 2 December 2018 The resources minister, Matt Canavan, last week told students that the only thing they’d learn by skipping school to protest over inaction on climate change would be how to join the dole queue.

The history of protest in Australia shows the opposite. The protest leaders of the 1960s and 1970s, including many high school students, were denounced by conservatives as long-haired layabouts who would never amount to anything. In fact, they became the next generation of leaders in politics, universities, media, the public service, NGOs and even business.

Take the 1965 Freedom Ride, for instance. “Look at em,” said one RSL stalwart when students turned up to protest against the ban on black diggers. “The brains of Australia! God help you if you ever end up under em.” That’s exactly what happened. The Freedom Ride’s leaders included Jim Spigelman, who would go on to become Chief Justice of NSW and chair of the ABC, Ann Curthoys, later an eminent professor, and Charles Perkins, who became an Aboriginal leader, leading public servant and one of Australia’s Living National Treasures.

Student protesters have become newspaper editors, cabinet ministers, prize-winning poets, much-loved cartoonists, publishers, world-famous authors and Supreme Court judges.

There’s a reason they develop into leaders. It’s those young people who throw themselves into civic engagement who become the best citizens and most productive members of our society. They are the passionate ones willing to stand up. They are not content to “work, consume, die” but commit themselves to making a better Australia.

When we hear Canavan tell 2GB the protesters are “not actually taking charge of their lives” and they should get a real job, he’s telling them they should not be active, motivated citizens but docile consumers who leave politics to the politicians.

The protesting school kids, tired of watching the sacrifice of their future by a government dominated by climate science deniers, had some sharp answers to that, waving placards reading “Why should we go to school if you won’t listen to the educated?” and “I’ve seen smarter cabinets in Ikea”.

The students are carrying on a noble tradition. The great social movements that defined modern Australia—the movements for women’s liberation, gay rights, Indigenous rights, and environmental protection—all inspired school students to get out on the streets, wave banners and chant slogans.

Without those courageous youths, Australia would be a backward place. You would think that political leaders would welcome young people becoming engaged in the civic life of the nation. Instead, they were denounced in Parliament in an angry tirade from the Prime Minister. Nothing could be more damaging to the future of our democracy than for budding citizens to be told by the powerful to get back into their boxes and shut up. Thank God the kids have decided they won’t be bullied. More power to them.

Clive Hamilton is the author of What Do We Want? The Story of Protest in Australia and professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra.

December 3, 2018 Posted by | art and culture, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, politics | Leave a comment

Government Divides Hawker and Kimba Communities While Hiding Suitable Alternate Radioactive Waste Sites

28 NOVEMBER 2018, Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick today called on the Australian Government to reopen consideration of the 122,000 square kilometres of the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) as a location for a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF).

Documents released under FOI to Senator Patrick show the Department of Industry undertook analysis of a number of sites, including the WPA, as potential homes for a NRWMF. In a very shallow response to the Department of Industry, Defence dismissed the WPA for its “impracticability” and “intolerable risk”.

Defence’s analysis cannot be reconciled with the fact that Woomera Test Range is already serving as a radioactive waste storage site. CSIRO is storing 10,000 drums of low and intermediate level waste in a hangar at Evetts Field, 1.3 kilometres from the Woomera Range head, while Defence is storing 35 cubic metres of intermediate level waste in a bunker 5 kilometres down range. Both the CSIRO and Defence waste has been stored there for 24 years.

“Defence’s claims are disingenuous and are nimby in attitude,” said Rex.

“If storing radioactive waste in the WPA represents an intolerable risk, why has this considerable store of waste been allowed to stay there for 24 years?”

“It seems that Defence is never stronger in defending territory than when it comes to defending its own.”

At question time today Senator Patrick today revealed the existence of a 414 page report undertaken for the former Department of Education, Science and Training that examines locating a NRWMF inside and nearby the WPA. It recommends Evetts Field inside the WPA as a preferred location.

The 414 page report contradicts Defence’s shallow analysis and addresses all of Defence’s concerns, and more.

“How can the Government tell the deeply divided communities of Hawker and Kimba that there is absolutely nowhere within the more than 122,000 square kilometres of Woomera that would be suitable for a radioactive waste facility,” Rex asked.

“Noting Minister Payne’s apparent lack of knowledge of the Evetts field option in the Senate today, I will definitely be pursuing this further.”

The relevant FOI documents and reports can be found here.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment