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Update re National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Bill 11/6/20

Federal government just passed the National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Bill through the lower house of federal parliament.

Importantly, Labor joined with Greens, Centre Alliance and independents to vote against the contested push to move Australia's radioactive waste from ANSTO's secure Lucas Heights facility in southern Sydney to a site near Kimba in regional South Australia.

While accepting the need for improved radioactive waste management, Labor MPs highlighted deep concerns with the government's approach and called for further detail and review.

Concerns included:

• The double handling of problematic and long-lived Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) through the unnecessary transport from an above-ground extended interim storage facility at ANSTO to an above-ground extended interim storage at a less resourced regional facility.
• The continuing opposition of the region’s Barngarla Traditional Owners.
• The lack of a rationale for a new set of waste laws.
• The government's decision not to de-couple consideration of the different waste streams (ILW and Low Level Waste). Labor urged the government to allow wider project consideration, including through a current Senate review.

The Greens also spoke strongly against the plan - as did Zali Steggall. Andrew Wilkie and Centre Alliance's Rebekah Sharkie also voted against the legislation.

FROM HERE - among other things - we need to work to highlight and detail the unresolved concerns via the Senate review (still tracking to report at the end of July) and the subsequent Senate consideration and vote on these laws.

Today the government has had a short-term political win at the expense of building consensus or credibility - we saw a political numbers exercise but we did not see agreement, evidence or responsibility.

The government's plan is deeply deficient and more people are seeing and acknowledging this - lets grow this story and change the approach to radioactive waste management.

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