Labor has agreed to support the Government’s amendments to the National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Bill.
We have long supported the need for a national facility to store radioactive waste.
Much of this waste is a by-product of the manufacture and use of nuclear medicine that plays a vital role in modern medicine. As a nation we have an obligation to deal with the waste that we create.
Labor is pleased that the Government has addressed our concerns about the legislation and has listened to the Traditional Owners, the Barngarla people.
The legislation has today been passed by Parliament.
Under the original legislation, an aggrieved party would not have the option of judicial review of a site selection.
This was also the primary concern of the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC)
Labor has been consistent on this.
We said we would not support passage of this legislation unless the Traditional Owners were comfortable with it.
Labor insisted over many months that BDAC must be consulted on the Government’s amendments before they went to the Parliament.
This happened earlier this month.
The Barngarla people support the amendments and are confident the revised Bill provides the legal recourse they need to ensure their voices are heard
The amendments allow for judicial review, while acknowledging the work that has already been done in shortlisting three sites for the facility.
However, Labor notes its serious concerns that the Government has been unable to provide any assurances on progress toward establishing a permanent facility for intermediate level waste.
Labor will continue to hold the Government to account and press for the Department to explain how it plans to establish a permanent underground repository for waste of this nature.