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Macfarlane calls on states to support uranium exports.



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4 December 2006

MACFARLANE CALLS ON STATES TO SUPPORT URANIUM EXPORTS

Australian Resources Minister, Ian Macfarlane, today called on State Governments to repeal laws strangling Australia's uranium export industry.

"Uranium is one of Australia's most promising export industries, worth $743 million in 2005. But, despite having close to 40% of this sought-after resource, Australia's future as a uranium exporter is being threatened," Mr Macfarlane said.

"Two major reports in the last fortnight - the bipartisan House of Representatives committee report Australia's Uranium: Greenhouse Friendly Fuel for an Energy Hungry World and a major ABARE study - confirm that Labor States are the only major obstacle to rapid growth in uranium exports."

State bans on uranium exploration and mining are stifling development. According to ABARE, there are 13 projects - seven in WA, five in Queensland, and one in South Australia - which will not proceed unless State bans are removed.

"If such projects could proceed, Australia could significantly boost its share of the lucrative global market. Instead, thanks to Labor State governments, we seem destined to lose market share," Mr Macfarlane said.

Mr Macfarlane pointed out that, as usual, Labor members were deeply divided on a vital national issue.

While the Labor left opposes new uranium mines, other Labor members recognise the obvious fact that uranium is a valuable industry creating jobs and exports. The shadow Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, and his two colleagues on the House of Representatives Committee have called for States to "abolish legislative restrictions on uranium…mining and exploration".

"It's time Labor became serious and accepted that the cost to Australia of chasing green votes with its nonsensical no new mines policy is too high. It doesn't matter who leads the Labor party, they're still a long way from a credible uranium policy," Mr Macfarlane said.