Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick has likened the secrecy around the proposed nuclear waste facility in South Australia to Soviet-era Russia.
The federal government says it needs ‘broad community support’ for the facility, which will likely be located in Kimba or Hawker, but Senator Patrick says the community is confused about what that means.
Senator Patrick repeatedly questioned Nuclear Taskforce Principal Adviser Bruce Wilson about what would constitute broad community support at a hearing into the site selection process on Thursday.
“This whole process becomes irrelevant, in terms of broad community support, if you don’t bring the community along,” he said.
“Whichever side is unhappy with this vote are just going to call it a sham.”
Mr Wilson claimed the specifics around the site selection process were ‘not a secret’.
“There may be people who (call it a sham),” he said.
“All I know from talking to the community is that they wanted this ballot.”
Senator Patrick said the communities of Kimba and Hawker ‘want a number’ which constitutes broad community support.
“We’ve got a department here that’s simply saying this whole definition is so secretive,” he said.
“It’s something I might (have found) in the Soviet Union back 30 years ago.”
Recent hearings conducted in Kimba and Hawker by the the Senate’s Economics References Committee heard from community groups both for and against the nuclear waste facility.
Members of the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association remain firmly against the facility, while the Wallerberdina Station site’s Economic Working Group believe it could have a lot of benefits for the region.
The federal government recently tripled their Community Development Package on offer for the site selected for the nuclear waste management facility, which is expected to create around 45 jobs.