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National Repository acquisition valid.



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Media Release

NATIONAL REPOSITORY ACQUISITION VALID

8 December 2003

Australian Government Science Minister Peter McGauran today welcomed the decision by the Federal Court which confirmed the acquisition by the Government of the national repository site and access route was valid.

“The decision clears the way for the national repository to proceed, subject to obtaining the required licenses from the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA),” Mr McGauran said.

“The Court accepted that Minister Slipper was entitled to form the view that the land needed to be acquired urgently as a result of the South Australian Government’s bid

to frustrate plans to establish the national repository by introducing legislation to reserve the site as a public park,” Mr McGauran said.

The circumstances justified the Australian Government’s use of the urgency provisions under the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 and this did not inappropriately deny procedural fairness and natural justice to the persons affected.

“The Australian Government’s compliance with the relevant provisions of the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 and the Native Title Act 1993 have been tested and shown to be correct,” Mr McGauran said.

“The South Australian Government’s recent audit of its radioactive waste has found that waste is currently stored at 80 sites in suburbs and towns across South Australia. These sites are not designed for the safe, long-term management of the waste.

“The audit report strongly argues for a long-term solution to the management of the state’s waste, which is consistent with the establishment of a national repository,” Mr McGauran said.

“The national repository could be operating as soon as next year subject to receiving the required licences from ARPANSA. South Australia’s radioactive waste could be removed from the current sites and be safely disposed of,” Mr McGauran concluded.

Further information: Fiona McDonald (Minister McGauran’s office) 02 6277 7440 or 0419 622 915