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Nuclear waste dump for NT: now it's the law.



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Thursday, 8 December 2005

Nuclear waste dump for NT: now it's the law

Warren Snowdon, the Member for Lingiari, today condemned the Coalition for passing into law a bill to allow the Federal Government to build a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory.

The Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2005 was passed by the House of Representatives after being sent back from the Senate with redundant amendments put by Senator Nigel Scullion.

‘Today the Howard Government showed its absolute contempt for the people of the Territory and their right to determine what happens in their own community,’ he said.

‘It is now in law that the Government can go ahead and build this dump.’

The legislation gives the Minister for Science the power to choose from one of three sites - Fishers Ridge near Katherine, Mount Everard and Harts Range near Alice Springs - to build the dump.

In choosing the dump site, the Minister does not have to consider environmental or heritage protection laws and his decision will not be able to be reviewed by the courts for procedural fairness.

It also sets aside laws passed by the Northern Territory Parliament banning a waste dump.

‘Never before in self-government has the Federal Government itself set about over-riding NT laws. The banning of euthanasia in 1997 was started by a Government backbencher, but it was not Government policy.

‘But building a waste dump against the wishes of Territorians is their policy.

‘The only reason they are doing this is because they can,’ Mr Snowdon said.

Mr Snowdon said there was no science behind the selection of the site, just politics.

‘These sites were not chosen for their suitability. The Government’s own advisory committee and scientists said that the NT was not suitable for a dump.

‘They have admitted there are better sites in Government-held seats in New South Wales and Victoria.

‘But in the NT the Howard Government simply sees vacant defence land and a Territory Parliament whose laws are easy to push over,’ he said.

Ends.

Copyright © 2004-5 Warren Snowdon MP. This page was last updated on 09 December 2005.