Deputy Opposition leader slams federal government's nuclear waste site selection process

Protesters opposed to the radioactive waste management facility marched through the streets of Port Augusta during yesterday's rally.
Protesters opposed to the radioactive waste management facility marched through the streets of Port Augusta during yesterday's rally.

"We are utterly opposed to the process," says Deputy Leader of the Opposition Susan Close regarding the current federal approach to a national radioactive waste facility in regional South Australia.

"We understand there is a need to do something with Australia's domestic waste but they have gone about it so badly that they have put the community off.

"They haven't done the due consideration that they ought to be doing of what the possibilities physically are."

At a recent state conference, the South Australian Labor Party adopted a policy contesting the federal government's site nomination and selection process.

They have called for full transparency, broad public input and best practice technical and consultative standards.

Ms Close condemned the federal government's current approach to building a potential facility at sites in Kimba and Hawker.

"It is a federal issue but we just have a view about it that they have gone about it in an appalling way," Ms Close said.

"They get to make the decision, we don't have have any capacity even if we were in government to do anything, but what they have done is asked landholder if anyone wants to have this and left the Aboriginal community out.

"For some reason, the only three sites they are looking at are in South Australia which is very strange."

Federal Minister for Resources Matt Canavan said thethree potential sites in South Australia were all voluntarily nominated and the facility will only be built where a community broadly supports it.

"... both of the communities impacted have already voted in favour to be included in the detailed consideration of a site location," he said.

"I have consistently stated that the facility will not be imposed on a community where there isn't broad community support.

"A Senate inquiry into the community consultation process last year found it to be a robust process.

"Whether people are for or against the proposal, I'm confident the community is well informed after more than two years of consultation and information sharing including direct consultation with Aboriginal communities on multiple occasions."

Premier Steven Marshall has maintained a stance that radioactive waste management is a federal issue and the state government has remained quiet during the drawn out process.

"They have paid almost no attention to the politics of the River Murray, they have ignored the serious and legitimate concerns about this issue and they are not acting as swiftly and firmly to protect the submarine jobs from Western Australia wanting to take them," she said.

"This is just part of a pattern that the Marshall Liberal government doesn't seem prepared to have any kind of argument with the commonwealth govt and that is to the detriment of South Australia's interest."

The Transcontinental reached out to the state government for comment, but did not receive a reply.