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Wednesday, 3 October 1984
Page: 1167

(Question No. 1065)


Senator Childs asked the Minister for Resources and Energy, upon notice, on 24 August 1984:

Will the Minister for Resources and Energy, following the statement in the Report of the Committee established to examine an accidental release of uranium hexafluoride at the Australian Atomic Energy Commission (AAEC) Research Establishment that: 'In hindsight it is clear that more attention should have been given to the desirability of an early press release by the AAEC to prevent information on the incident being subsequently exaggerated and public anxiety being caused unnecessarily', institute a system of automatic, detailed media releases on any incidents at Lucas Heights.


Senator Walsh —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

No. Careful consideration is always given to whether any aspect of the AAEC's day-to-day activities at the Lucas Heights Research Laboratories warrants a public announcement. Following the exaggerated press coverage of the incident on 6 July 1984, the AAEC has been asked to be more sensitive to the need to make a public announcement after an incident, irrespective of its off-site significance , if the incident could lead to concern in the local community and if it warrants reporting to relevant Commonwealth and State authorities.