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Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Page: 1180

Mr MURPHY (Reid) (13:49): Since coming to office less than two years ago, New South Wales Premier O'Farrell and the Liberal-National Party government have exceeded even the most pessimistic predictions of those who warned that this regime would trash the state's environment.

So far, following the last state election and the immediate closure of the department of the environment, we have seen amongst other policy failures and environmental disasters a failure to protect residents from the release of carcinogenic hexavalent chromium into the suburbs of Newcastle, the shooters in the national parks, the abandonment of management of the effects of rising sea levels caused by global warming and a denial of global warming and climate change. Now we have a plan to remove a radioactive waste dump from Hunters Hill, in a nice blue-ribbon Liberal electorate, and transfer it to a supposedly better location at Lidcombe, in a Labor electorate—my electorate.

Radium and other radioactive elements such as radon can be extracted from uranium ores, and in the early 20th century these elements were used in quack medicine as a cure-all. Unbelievably, mill tailings such as those still at Hunters Hill were sold as radium manure that supposedly improved crop yields. Evidently, Premier O'Farrell wants to return to the good old days of radium brand fertiliser as he spreads the supposed benefits of this hazardous material to other parts of the state instead of securing it in a deep burial, well away from populated areas. If it is safe enough to be stored at Lidcombe, why not store it in the quack medicine Premier's own electorate of Ku-ring-gai?