In response to Resources Minister Keith Pitt’s announcement of a new Australian Radioactive Waste Agency, to be based in Adelaide, the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Nuclear Free Campaigner Dave Sweeney said:
“With his announcement of the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency, Minister Pitt is playing short-term politics with the management of long-term waste.
“This new agency appears to have been set up to rubber stamp and maintain momentum for the Federal Government’s deeply flawed and contested radioactive waste facility planned for Kimba in regional South Australia.
“From day one the perception of this new agency has been tainted – rather than being expert and independent, it has been created primarily to advance the Government’s Kimba plan.
“It is absurd to establish a new federal agency for a proposal that is still under active Senate review and has no current legislative basis.
“Instead of what is needed – an expert and independent authority to oversee radioactive waste management in Australia – this initiative has all the hallmarks of a tailor-made political fix for a federal plan that has no broad social licence.
“It is extraordinary that this announcement to advance a national radioactive waste facility in Kimba against the specific objections of the Barngarla Traditional Owners comes a day after a major review of federal environmental laws highlighted a tokenistic approach to Indigenous concerns.
“Minister Pitt continues to re-state the tired myths that have dominated the Federal Government’s approach to this issue.
“To be clear, nuclear medicine in Australia is not dependent on the Kimba plan. Universities and hospitals that produce radioactive waste will still need to manage waste at these places.
“This is a disappointing, half-baked and deeply compromised response to the growing uncertainty and contest surrounding the Federal Government’s approach to radioactive waste management.”