$31 million boost for nuclear location

NUCLEAR: Wallerberdina Station is one of three nominated sites for the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.
NUCLEAR: Wallerberdina Station is one of three nominated sites for the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

The Flinders Ranges community could receive up to $31 million through a Community Development Package if the Wallerberdina Station site is chosen to host the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

Initially touted to be about $10M, federal government has more than tripled the package to be awarded to the selected community.

Federal Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the improved package would support the people and industries surrounding the facility.

“This enhanced package will ensure the successful community is ready and able to take advantage of the benefits of hosting this facility both during construction and the lifetime of its operation,” he said.

“What shipbuilding or aircraft bases do for some communities, and steel-making or mining does for other towns, the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility will do for its host town in terms of employment, opportunities for new careers in trades and university qualified positions and flow-on benefits.”

The package includes a $20M National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Community Fund, delivering infrastructure and development benefits to the community.

$8M worth of community grants would be made available through the Community Skills and Development Program during the four-year licencing and construction period.

Finally, government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) would receive up to $3M over three years to improve Indigenous skills training and cultural heritage protection in the successful community.

However, the announcement from federal government has been slammed by Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who recently visited the Wallerberdina Station site.

“Resources Minister Matt Canavan should be ashamed of himself for trying to bribe the community in return for dumping radioactive waste on them,” Ms Hanson-Young said.

“Putting money on the table, just weeks before the Kimba and Hawker communities vote on whether they want a nuclear waste dump in their front yard smacks of desperation and bribery.

“Polling shows the majority of South Australians want our state to put a stop to this project. Nuclear waste is not welcome in Kimba or the Flinders Ranges, and the rest of the state is behind these two communities in their fight against this proposal.”

Ms Hanson-Young also questioned why the Liberal government has not revealed how much profit former Liberal Senator Grant Chapman, who owns the Wallerberdina Station site, would earn from a successful bid.

The Wallerberdina Station site is one of three nominated locations for the national facility, with the other two both based in Kimba.

A postal ballot is set to commence on August 20 to measure the community support for the three nominated sites.

Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said the successful community would have the opportunity to “create a long-term future for itself”.

“Now, coupled with the commitment of a minimum 45 jobs on site, it will really give the citizens of both communities something to contemplate before next month’s vote,” Mr Ramsey said.

“This facility will provide wonderful opportunities for either community if selected.”