Legislation has been introduced to federal parliament that will pave the way for a critical piece of national infrastructure to support the increasing use of nuclear medicine in Australia and provide an economic boost to a regional South Australian community.
The National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill today passed through the House of Representatives.
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said it’s an important milestone for the establishment of the facility.
“Governments have been attempting to find a solution to this issue for decades and today our Government has taken a significant step in bringing the process to a conclusion,” Minister Pitt said.
“The legislation will confirm the site near Kimba in South Australia as the home for the facility that will allow the continued growth of nuclear medicine in Australia.
“The site was one of 28 across the country that was voluntarily nominated, followed by extensive engagement and consultation with the surrounding community that has shown broad support for the project,” Minister Pitt said.
“There has also been extensive engagement with other stakeholders during this process, including with Traditional Owners.”
Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said the local community has heard enough and just want work on the facility to begin.
“I have visited similar facilities around the world to what is being proposed in Kimba and seen how safe they area and the tremendous opportunities they bring to the towns where they’re based.
“This project will provide a long-term economic lifeline to Kimba, which like many regional towns around Australia faces the challenges of falling population and job opportunities.
“The waste storage facility will create 45 direct local jobs and provide around $8 million in benefit each year to the Kimba economy.
“I thank the landholders who nominated their properties and have been the centre of attention ever since and I also thank the whole community for engaging in the consultation process.
“Of course there are differing views, but the whole community has made a decision and most are looking forward to the commencement of work.”
Minister Pitt said the legislation will now head to the Senate and called on Labor and the cross-benchers to support the project.
“Suggestions that a site in the Woomera area could be used for the facility are simply not practical due to the increase in Defence Force training activities that will limit access to the area,” Minister Pitt said.
“The passage of this Bill, and the construction of the facility, is crucially important to the future of nuclear medicine in Australia, which will benefit two in three Australians.
“Currently the waste is stored in around 100 locations across the country, including hospital basements, research facilities and universities.
“The project at Kimba will support the future growth of nuclear medicine in Australia, and provide new job and economic opportunities for a South Australian regional community.”
Leonie Lloyd-Smith 11 June2020