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Thursday, 14 September 1972
Page: 1384

Mr BARNARD (BASS, TASMANIA) - I ask the Minister for Supply: Have quantities of radioactive waste from British nuclear establishments been dumped in Australia? In particular, were lead-lined boxes of radioactive waste flown from Britain and buried on the Maralinga testing site? If so, how much of this material was dumped? When did the dumping start and when did it cease? Why was this practice not disclosed to the Australian public?

Mr GARLAND (CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Supply) - The honourable member has been careful not to make any statement about the source of the allegations and I think that that in itself is significant. I have no knowledge of the allegations he has made and I will certainly look into the matter. Referring to those areas in the Maralinga region which I mentioned in an answer to a question yesterday, might I say that the British Government spent a very large sum of money making areas as safe as possible by pouring great quantities of concrete to fill in areas that had been dug deep, and in restoring the surface area as much as possible. All of this took place nearly 20 years ago. The radioactive material present in those areas has in the main a half life of some 15 or 20 years, I think, from memory and so its effect, deep and buried and covered as it is, has been very much diminished in that time. However, I will make inquiries in relation to the particular charge which the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has made.

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