Mr RAMSEY (Grey—Government Whip) (11:17): Yesterday I made a 90-second statement in the main chamber congratulating those involved in passing the national radioactive waste management bill through the Senate on Monday night, but I was cut a bit short—it was a 90-second statement—and there are a few other people who I’d like to cover off on and to particularly thank for their strength and perseverance through what has been a long period. It’s been six years since the government first called for landholders to nominate their properties for sale to the Commonwealth for development as a radioactive waste site. Then there were all the things that went on after that, as to selecting sites, and then the education or information process that went on with the communities—it goes on and on, and my speech on the second reading of the bill covers off on a lot of this history.
I would particularly like to thank the councils—the Kimba District Council and Flinders Ranges Council—where the three preferred sites listed in the legislation passed on Monday night are situated. The site at Wallerberdina, which is in the Flinders Ranges Council’s area, has been discounted by the government because we’ve said that we’re not going to put the site anywhere where the community doesn’t want it, and 52 per cent of those people voted against the idea of that happening. But that doesn’t mean that their communities and their councils have not been involved through this period. So I particularly thank the Kimba council and the Flinders Ranges Council and the Kimba and Barndioota consultative committees and their associated economic groups. They’ve given enormous numbers of hours over these years.
I would particularly like to mention their independent chairs: Allan Suter, who had been a long-term and very significant mayor of Ceduna and had chaired the Kimba group, and Paul Thomas, another long-term and significant mayor of the Copper Coast council who had chaired the Flinders Ranges group. Both those gentlemen lived hundreds of kilometres away from the designated sites. So very well done to those independent chairs.
There have been accusations that communities have been bought off with payments, and each community will receive $6 million in $2 million doses in another six months time, but these communities have put time and effort into engaging and getting informed. When we had the vote in Kimba, there was a 90 per cent turnout. That shows the amount of engagement. Sixty-two per cent of people voted in favour.
I understand the position of those who are opposed, but the decision has been made by the community and it’s time now to come together and enjoy the fruits that this facility will yield. It will provide 42 permanent jobs in a town of just over 1,000 people. A quarter of a billion dollars will be spent on infrastructure and a community benefit fund to go forward. I congratulate all and thank them all.