Former Grey MP critical of nuclear process

NO NUCLEAR: Barry Wakelin speaking at the Kimba rally on Saturday, February 1.

NO NUCLEAR: Barry Wakelin speaking at the Kimba rally on Saturday, February 1.

Former Liberal MP and Kimba resident Barry Wakelin has continued his opposition against the federal government's plans to establish a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) at Kimba.

Mr Wakelin, who served as the Member for Grey from 1993 to 2007, attended a rally organised by the No Nuclear Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba group a day after the official announcement that Napandee had been selected as the host for the facility.

He blasted the government and former Resources Minister Matt Canavan for the timing of the announcement, claiming the Liberal Party were attempting to 'terrify us into submission'.

"That's what he was trying to do - saying 'how dare you have your say'," Mr Wakelin said.

"And in 24 hours the man was gone, it was pretty bizarre."

Senator Canavan quit cabinet on the Monday after the announcement to support Barnaby Joyce as leader of the National Party.

Mr Joyce was unsuccessful in his leadership challenge and Senator Canavan has since been replaced by Hinkler MP Keith Pitt, who took on the portfolio of resources in a mini cabinet re-shuffle.

Mr Wakelin said the government had yet to outline where intermediate level waste would be stored at Kimba, saying the reasons to justify bringing that level of waste would have to be 'overwhelming'.

"This government has made an effort to try and move nuclear waste to Kimba as fast as they can on temporary basis," he said.

"They haven't got a place to store the waste permanently - they've had decades to find a permanent place for it but they aren't even talking about it now."

Mr Wakelin said there had been 'glaring inconsistencies' in the consultation process for the NRWMF, including the fact that a person who owns land in Kimba but lives in Whyalla was unable to vote in the community ballot held last year.

"I wasn't able to vote because of my situation but my family has lived in Kimba coming up to 100 years," he said.

While Mr Wakelin conceded there were employment opportunities that would come out of the nuclear facility for Kimba residents, he said a number of farmers were concerned about jeopardising Kimba's clean green image.

"There's a reputational risk not just for Kimba but for the Eyre Peninsula and the whole of South Australia," he said.

"This is going to generate a few jobs but there a lot of jobs in Kimba right now through the agriculture industry which has been there for 100 years."

Resources Minister Keith Pitt has been contacted for a response.