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Article in The Australian.

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Martin Ferguson MP

Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Resources, Forestry and Tourism

25 May 2006

Article in The Australian

I refer to the article in today’s Australian in which it was stated that I back uranium enrichment in Australia and “challenged the party to embrace the technology”.

I said no such thing as the direct quotes in the article reveal.

I have said consistently that the issue of enrichment is part of the debate on the conditions of export guaranteeing the peaceful use of Australia’s uranium, and the international rules surrounding nuclear non proliferation.

As I said in my May 10, 2006 speech to the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association:

“We are beginning to understand that because of this Australia has a global leadership role to play in making the world’s nuclear industry safer and more secure, and in protecting us against nuclear proliferation.

And that is where our efforts need to be focussed.

On working with the United Nations and our allies to exercise the leadership needed to get the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) back on track and provide a coherent international framework for the future peaceful use of uranium and nuclear technology.

That means addressing new issues in the NPT to reflect a world that is today very different to the cold war world of the 1970s - issues related to the world’s concern about not only which countries have nuclear weapons, but which countries have conversion and enrichment facilities and the safeguards and regulations that should apply to them.

At a time when the international community is trying to hold Iran to account against the safeguards regime under the NPT, it has never been clearer that the NPT must be reviewed to make it more relevant to today’s issues and more effective in the modern world.

The real policy issue for the export of mined uranium from Australia is not how many mines we have, but the enforcement of tough export safeguards that guarantee its peaceful use regardless of which mine it comes from.”

There should be no new enrichment plants anywhere in the world until such a review is completed and there is an international framework in place to govern enrichment facilities.

We don’t want rogue nations enriching uranium.

Contact: Tracey Winters 0407 099 104