FoE campaigners in Adelaide and Melbourne have been heavily involved in the debate about whether South Australia will become the world's high-level nuclear waste dump. We've been working on the assumption that this campaign will run for 5‒10 years but the past six weeks have seen some remarkable developments ‒ most of them positive. The project was effectively killed off, then revived, and has hopefully been killed off again ... hopefully!
Here's a summary of recent happenings:
- On October 15, 3,000 people participated in a protest at Parliament House in Adelaide.
- On November 6, two-thirds of the 350 members of a SA government-initiated Citizens' Jury rejected "under any circumstances" the government's plan to import 138,000 tonnes of spent fuel and 390,000 cubic metres of intermediate-level nuclear waste as a money-making venture.
- SA Premier Jay Weatherill previously said that he established the Citizens' Jury because he could sense that there is a "massive issue of trust in government" so he had little option other than to accept the Jury's verdict. Celebrations were raucous and joy was unconfined.
- But on November 14, Weatherill announced that he wanted to hold a state-wide referendum on the issue, as well as giving affected Aboriginal communities a right of veto over nuclear developments on their land.
- However, enabling legislation would be required to hold a referendum and cannot be passed without the support of political parties opposed both to a referendum and also to the nuclear waste import project. Those parties are the Liberal Party (favoured to win the next state election in early 2018), the Nick Xenophon Team and the SA Greens. The Liberal Party and the Nick Xenophon Team had not opposed the nuclear waste import proposal before the Citizens' Jury, and their opposition fundamentally alters the political dynamics of the debate.
- Then the Labor Party government announced that it would not seek to repeal or amend the SA Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000, which imposes major constraints on the ability of the government to move forward with the nuclear waste import proposal.
- So we're back where we were a few weeks ago ‒ the waste import proposal seems to be dead in the water. Nevertheless the state government and SA's Murdoch tabloid, The Advertiser, along with some other nuclear dumpsters are fighting a ferocious rear-guard battle to try to revive the corpse. So FoE campaigners ‒ and many others ‒ are continuing to campaign on the high-level nuclear waste proposal, and also on a separate plan to impose a national nuclear waste dump on the land of Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners in the Flinders Ranges.
If you'd like to get involved in FoE's cranking anti-nuclear campaign, please visit www.melbourne.foe.org.au/anti-nuclear, like our facebook page www.facebook.com/acekollective, phone 0417 318 368 or email [email protected]. If you can donate to support our work, please visit: melbourne.foe.org.au/ace_monthlydonate