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A new stage in fight against radioactive waste bill

  • 17 November 2020
‘We have spent two very productive days at Parliament House speaking about our concerns regarding the proposed Kimba dump site and the Government's attempts to pass legislation that intentionally takes away our rights to judicial review. Thank you to all of our supporters who helped get us there, this has been a long and expensive fight, but our voices are being heard.’

This message from the No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA group (No Rad Waste) was a good intimation that day to anxious followers that the hoped for blocking in the Senate of the Coalition’s Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Bill 2020 was indeed going to happen. ACF’s progressive checking of the Senate Agenda had already revealed that the Bill, listed as number 8 on Monday 9/11, had by Tuesday 10/11 slipped to number 23. On Wednesday 11/11 it had disappeared off the list.

Did this mean the government, knowing it didn’t have the numbers, had given up on the legislation — at least for the present?

Hope was confirmed for sure the next day. An Adelaide Advertiser’s 12th November article heading read: ‘Pauline Hanson’s One Nation torpedoes Kimba nuclear waste dump in SA.’

The article confirmed ‘The One Nation leader… has confirmed she will not back legislation to build the nuclear waste storage site at Napandee farm, near Kimba.’ The article then went on to explain that ‘Without One Nation’s two crucial votes — and Labor, the Greens, and independent senator Rex Patrick not backing the Bill — the government does not have enough votes for it to pass parliament without changes.’

As Senator Hanson had told The Advertiser reporter, she ‘had serious concerns about the process to select Napandee, the level of community support, the waste site being built on farming land, and the facility storing intermediate radioactive waste above ground.’

'So with the government unable to get the Senate numbers, what will happen next?'

So in the long journey of nearly five years since the Australian federal government's renewed search for a national radioactive waste facility, it seems a new stage has been reached.

Here’s a question: did the federal Minister for Resources overreach himself? With the power to simply name the government’s preferred site, Minister Keith Pitt went a step further by presenting to Parliament the naming of the site. This meant that a passing of the government’s Amendment Bill would block off the chances for any opponent group to take the