January 30, 2018

Greens welcome Labor switch on nuclear waste dump

The Premier’s apparent change of heart on a national nuclear waste dump in South Australia is a late but welcome development, according to Greens SA Parliamentary Leader, Mark Parnell MLC.

“The Greens have steadfastly opposed the Commonwealth Government’s process of nuclear waste dump site selection and we have supported communities at both Kimba and in the Flinders Ranges who are opposed to the dump.  We invite Labor to join us in this campaign.” said Mark Parnell.

“The Greens believe that before any decisions are made about how to manage Australia’s nuclear waste, the Federal Government needs to make the case for a central repository, which to date, it hasn’t done.  Waste from the Lucas Heights reactor can stay where it is and most medical waste has low levels of short-lived radioactivity and generally ends up safely in landfill.

“Australia certainly needs to take responsibility for and manage our own domestic nuclear waste, but we must also be working to ensure that no new nuclear waste is generated.

The South Australian Government has a number of political and legal tools at its disposal to block the national nuclear waste dump.  This includes the fact that one of the sites being investigated (Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges) is on Crown Land for which SA Environment Minister Ian Hunter is ultimately responsible.  The land cannot be used for nuclear waste dump without the Minister’s approval, yet throughout 2017, the Minister responded to the Greens during Parliament’s Question Time that neither he nor his Department had had any discussions with the Federal Government over using this publicly-owned land for a national waste dump.

“The question the Premier needs to answer is: who in his cabinet and which of his Departments is negotiating with the Federal Government?  Will he now direct them to tell the Feds that SA is not interested in becoming the nation’s nuclear waste dump?  Unless he gives those directions, the public will rightly be suspicious that the current anti-dump rhetoric might not last beyond March 17th”, concluded Mark Parnell.