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RADIOACTIVE WASTE--SELECT COMMITTEE--APPOINTMENT

Senator Chapman amended his notice of motion by leave and, pursuant to

notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved--That:

(1) A select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on the

Dangers of Radioactive Waste, be appointed to inquire into and

report, on or before the last sitting day in 1995, on the

following matters:

(a) the extent to which radioactive waste is being produced,

stored, transported, treated and disposed of in Australia;

(b) the nature, efficiency and effectiveness of the

administration, monitoring and control of such production,

storage, transport, treatment and disposal, and whether these

are adequate to protect the public interest; and

(c) what existing guidelines and legislation require revision by

government to better protect the future public interest in an

area of intrinsic potential danger to public health and the

environment.

(2) In considering these terms of reference the committee is to take

into account, and where necessary report on, the following issues:

(a) the effectiveness and extent of application, on a national

basis, of the following Codes of Practice formulated and

approved under the Environment Protection (Nuclear Codes) Act

1978 for regulating or controlling nuclear activities in

Australia:

(i) the Code of Practice for the Safe Transport of Radioactive

Substances (1990),

(ii) the National Health and Medical Research Council Code of

Practice for the Near-Surface Disposal of Radioactive Waste

in Australia (1992),

(iii) the National Health and Medical Research Council Code of

Practice for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste by the User

(1985), and

(iv) any related or proposed Code of Practice for regulating or

controlling nuclear activities (but not including uranium

mining and milling);

(b) the suitability of the Environment Protection (Impact of

Proposals) Act 1974 in protecting the environment and

fostering consultation with the community in relation to the

handling, transportation and storage of radioactive waste;

(c) the scope for independent inspection or environmental audit of

sites used for the storage of radioactive waste;

(d) the significance of the expanded role for the Australian

Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) in

conditioning, managing and storing radioactive waste under the

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Act

1987 and Regulations as amended;

(e) the adequacy of funding for research into, and the training

available in Australia for skilled personnel involved in, the

handling, transport, storage and security of radioactive

waste;

(f) the location, amount, state, age and type of radioactive waste

in Australia (excluding material from uranium mining and

milling);

(g) the general suitability of each existing location for the

storage of radioactive waste including the consideration of

such factors as population density, stability of the site in

geological and hydrogeological terms, surface flooding and

overall environmental significance;

(h) whether each existing location for the storage of radioactive

waste has a description to indicate the likely period of

duration for its use as a storage site and whether any program

or plan exists for future use of the site together with a

general assessment of the likely stability of existing methods

of storage;

(i) the state of planning and timing for the development of a

national repository for the storage of radioactive waste and

the likely legislative powers and functions to be vested in

the relevant government or non-government agency responsible

for the proposed repository;

(j) the extent to which the establishment of a permanent national

repository will result in the removal of radioactive waste

from storage in areas generally considered to be unsuitable

for reasons such as population density, site stability and

other relevant factors;

(k) existing and, where known, future arrangements for the

permanent or temporary storage of intermediate and high level

radioactive waste;

(l) Australia's current and, where known, future obligations under

international treaties relevant to nuclear activities;

(m) the extent of Australia's imports and exports of radioactive

material (excluding uranium mining), and the adequacy of

legislativecontrols for such material;

(n) the implications of any user-pays system for the management,

storage and disposal of radioactive waste;

(o) measures taken by radioactive waste producers to avoid and/or

minimise the creation of radioactive waste arising from their

activities (but not including uranium mining and milling); and

(p) identification of waste avoidance and/or minimisation

procedures that could be followed by these producers (but not

including uranium mining and milling).

(3) The committee consist of seven senators:

(a) two nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate;

(b) three nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate;

(c) one nominated by the Leader of the Australian Democrats; and

(d) one nominated by the Greens (WA) or Senator Harradine or

Senator Devereux.

(4) The committee may proceed to the dispatch of business

notwithstanding that all members have not been duly nominated and

appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.

(5) (a) The chair of the committee be elected by the members of the

committee from the opposition members of the committee.

(b) In the absence of agreement on the selection of a chair, duly

notified to the President, the allocation of the chair be

determined by the Senate.

(c) The deputy chair of the committee be elected by the committee

from the members of the committee immediately after the

election of the chair.

(d) The deputy chair act as chair when there is no chair or the

chair is not present at a meeting.

(e) In the event of the votes on any question before the committee

being equally divided, the chair, or the deputy chair when

acting as chair, have a casting vote.

(6) The quorum of the committee be four members.

(7) The committee and any subcommittee have power to send for and

examine persons and documents, to move from place to place and to

sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of

the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives.

(8) The committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of

three or more of its members, and to refer to any such

subcommittee any of the matters which the committee is empowered

to consider, and that the quorum of a subcommittee be a majority

of the senators appointed to the subcommittee.

(9) Without limiting its power to pass procedural or other resolutions

that are not inconsistent with this paragraph or these terms of

reference, the committee observe the following procedures:

Submissions and calling of witnesses

(a) As a general principle, evidence be invited in the first

instance in the form of written submissions and following

examination of submissions, the committee decide which

witnesses are to be called for examination.

(b) Subject to any contrary order in relation to a particular

submission, the submission to the committee by a person of a

statement relating to the inquiry be deemed to be the giving

of evidence before the committee by that person in accordance

with that statement.

Evidence

(c) Evidence be heard in public session except in instances where

the committee or a subcommittee resolves to hear evidence in

camera.

Statements to the media

(d) The chair be authorised to make statements to the media on

behalf of the committee concerning its activities.

Broadcasts and re-broadcasts of public proceedings

(e) The recording, broadcasting and re-broadcasting of public

proceedings is authorised in accordance with the rules

contained in the order of the Senate of 23 August 1990, as

varied by the Senate from time to time, concerning the

broadcasting of committee proceedings.

Release of evidence and documents

(f) The secretary is authorised to supply, for correction, copies

of proof reports of both public and in camera proceedings to

the witnesses whose evidence appears in those reports.

(g) Subject to any contrary order in relation to a particular

submission, each document submitted to the committee be

published.

Adverse Evidence

(h) Subject to any contrary order, evidence which adversely

reflects on a person, be forwarded to that person inviting

their response.

(10) (a) The terms of reference of the inquiry be appropriately

advertised in the media.

(b) Written submissions be sought and examined by the committee

and oral evidence be heard.

(11) The committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities

and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist

knowledge for the purposes of the committee, with the approval of

the President.

(12) The committee be empowered to print from day to day such

documents and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily

Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public.

(13) The committee may report from time to time its proceedings and

evidence taken or any interim conclusions or recommendations

arising from its inquiry, and may make regular reports on the

progress of its proceedings.

Statement by leave: The Minister for the Environment, Sport and

Territories (Senator Faulkner), by leave, made a statement relating to

the motion.

Question put and passed.