Nuclear legislation on the table

LOCATION: The Napandee site at Kimba has been idenitified as the host for the federal government's nuclear waste facility.
LOCATION: The Napandee site at Kimba has been idenitified as the host for the federal government's nuclear waste facility.

The federal government's goal of establishing a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) at Napandee, Kimba is a step closer after key legislation was tabled in the Parliament on Thursday.

The controversial National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 will be subject to much scrutiny from the Senate crossbench and other stakeholders.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has already flagged that her party will move to block the legislation, claiming that government does not have broad community support.

"It is wrong to say there is broad community support. Traditional Owners have rejected the proposal. Once again the Morrison Government and Minister Canavan haven't listened," she said.

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick has previously stated that his party would refer the legislation to a Senate Committee 'where the decision made by the Government can be thoroughly scrutinised'.

"Whilst the decision by 62% of the community to back the facility being built must be respected, so too must the views of those who were under the impression that the facility would not go ahead without 'broad community support'," he said.

The bill will also allow the government to establish a $20 million Community Fund for Kimba, promising to support long-term infrastructure and development priorities for the town.

New Resources Minister Keith Pitt, who replaced Senator Matt Canavan after his resignation from cabinet, said the legislation would also provide certainty for the nuclear medical industry.

"More than 80 per cent of Australia's radioactive waste stream is associated with the production of nuclear medicine which, on average, one in two Australians will need during their lifetime," Minister Pitt said.

"If we want the benefits of nuclear applications, which are used in the diagnosis of heart and lung conditions and the treatment of specific cancers, we have to deal responsibly with the waste produced.

"Under this Government, decisive action has been taken to finally provide a facility where we can consolidate existing and future radioactive waste stream."

Minister Pitt thanked the the people of Kimba, Hawker, Quorn, Traditional Owner groups, the Kimba District and Flinders Ranges councils and the Outback Communities Authority for their participation in the consultation process.

"In particular I thank the Kimba community for their considered and constructive approach, and look forward to working with all community members to deliver this facility," he said.

The legislation comes after the Napandee site was identified as the host for the NRWMF on February 1, following a four-year technical and community assessment process.