“A mob of cowards sacrificing Australia’s interests at the altar of the Voice” is how Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey has described the Albanese Government decision to walk away from the legislated commitment to build the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at Napandee in the Kimba district.
“It is clear the Albanese Government has no stomach for any kind of conflict with any indigenous group in Australia as it desperately campaigns to garner support for its Voice,” Mr Ramsey said.
“This is while telling Australians the Voice will be very mild, it won’t have any real power, but already the Government wasn’t prepared to challenge a Federal Court ruling of very tenuous nature on an issue of national importance.
“This is the end of an eight-year attempt to solve a fifty-year old problem. How can it be that a country as modern and sophisticated as Australia is incapable of finding a site for a facility to permanently dispose of waste that is lying around in university and hospital basements all around the country?
“This process began in 2015, that was when I brought the opportunity to the attention of my own community with an intention to nominate my own farm.
“The Coalition Government searched the country for a landholder willing to sell a portion of their land to the Government for the permanent storage of low-level radioactive waste.
“We screened the nominations for suitability and then surveyed those communities to see if they wanted to host the facility. Then we then held a series of ballots and eventually both houses of Parliament endorsed the Government’s decision to site the facility at Napandee in the Kimba District after it returned a vote 61.8% in favour.
“This is the same majority the Same Sex Marriage vote enjoyed in a full national plebiscite.
“Now the project has been abandoned and the Resource Minister Madeleine King has given no indication the Government has a plan B.
“This decision has left ANSTO with no plan to store low level waste past 2032 and brings into question whether they are in contravention of their APANSA’s regulatory responsibilities today and I am seeking clarification on that point.”
Mr Ramsey said it is astonishing the Minister offers no plan for the future.
“How on earth if she thinks this process was ill-considered, does she expect to have an alternative facility in place by 2030 given it has taken eight years just to get to this point.” he said.
“How are we to believe this Government would ever be able to deliver a high-level waste site in time to meet the AUKUS guidelines?”
“This decision has totally failed the 61.8% of Kimba citizens who voted in favour of hosting the facility. People and businesses that have either taken or deferred business decisions on the back of both Houses of Parliament passing the site nomination, have had the rug pulled completely from under them.
“Further, despite the Minister’s denials, it opens a pathway for any indigenous group to claim standing in court to challenge any development on any Freehold Land in Australia including suburbia.
“That a Federal Government would not challenge that decision on principal beggars’ belief. Either Native Title is extinguished by Freehold Title, as the high Court has ruled, or it does not.”
Media contact: Leonie Lloyd-Smith 0417827523
Aug 10 2023