Radioactive Waste: Communities Can’t Be Bought

This morning federal resources Minister Matt Canavan revealed his increasing desperation to find a site for Australia’s radioactive waste before the next election by announcing an increase in the incentive package for the chosen community from $10 million to $31 million.

The Minister has repeatedly stated that “broad community support” is needed in order to select a site for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF). However the Minister continues to refuse to detail what this means. Talking on ABC North and West radio with Paul Culliver today, Minister Canavan continued to avoid answering how this support would be measured.

Hawker GP and member of the Flinders Local Action Group Susi Andersson said:

“for many in the community it has never been about money. Tourists are stopping people in the street to say they won’t come back if Hawker hosts a dump. A 2% drop in tourism numbers would lose the region $8.5 million every year. A one off federal payment is not worthwhile”.

Peter Woolford, a farmer from Kimba and chair of No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA said:

“Minister Canavan’s announcement this morning of a new community benefits package has no influence on our opposition to the proposed Kimba sites. We have always maintained that the NRWMF does not belong on agricultural land, and no amount of money changes that. Our federal government has a responsibility to find the right site, not just any site for this facility, and our support for siting it in Kimba cannot be bought”.

Nuclear Waste Campaigner at Conservation SA Mara Bonacci said:

“since Minister Canavan announced a community ballot on the federal waste plan the promises of jobs and dollars have tripled. We are concerned that much of this increase in funding would benefit the project rather than the community. $20 million has been allocated for infrastructure that communities should have regardless of whether they accept the NRWMF or not.”

Given that today’s announcement about tripling the economic incentive to the community comes just weeks before the community ballot to gauge community sentiment and after an increase in the purported employment benefits of the facility from 15 to 45 with no change to the actual proposal, it is clear that Minister Canavan’s desperation to find a site is driven by politics, not responsible radioactive waste management.

Release ends

For comment:

Kimba: Peter Woolford 0447 001 493

Conservation SA: Mara Bonacci 0422 229 970

Image: https://antinuclear.net/category/opposition-to-nuclear/

Media release: https://www.conservationsa.org.au/radioactive_waste_communities_can_t_be_bought