Mr RAMSEY (Grey—Opposition Whip) (13:56): I can only describe the decision of the government today to withdraw support for the Kimba facility, the national radioactive waste management facility, as weak, cowardly and, indeed, gutless—absolutely lacking moral fibre. This government has put at risk the future of ANSTO and Australia’s nuclear medical production. Over 700,000 people a year benefit from that production. The government has left Kimba, my home community, up the creek without a paddle after eight years of actually going down this pathway. There are people in Kimba who have made business decisions—on the back of the decision of both houses of parliament, here in Canberra, to locate this facility in Kimba—and put off marketing their businesses, making new decisions or, in fact, investing in the $300 million pipeline that was heading our way. It is a complete abandonment of principle. It has left landowners around Australia wondering what on earth freehold title is worth, when any Indigenous group can now challenge on the basis that they could have claimed native title if somebody hadn’t claimed freehold title first.
Primarily, the question here is: does the minister have an answer for ANSTO? Are they going to lean on ARPANSA to change their ruling—and, if they do, they should be thrown from office immediately. It is an independent scientific body that must rest on its own decisions, and it should not be undermined or leaned on by this government. (Time expired)