Opposition Senators acknowledge that as the expert agency on nuclear
research and management, ANSTO has a critical role to play in the management of
nuclear waste and materials nationally.
In the current security climate, it is also sensible for ANSTO to assist
law enforcement agencies in the management of nuclear materials.
The Opposition’s reservation to this bill hinges on two critical
issues. First, this bill strengthens ANSTO’s ability to be involved in
management of nuclear materials and waste destined for the nuclear waste
repository to be constructed in the Northern Territory. Labor reiterates its opposition
to the nuclear waste facility has been imposed on the Northern Territory under
provisions of the Commonwealth Radioactive
Waste Management Act 2005. The concerns of the Opposition were made clear
in its dissenting report on this bill tabled by this committee on 29 November
Further, the Opposition is
concerned that the Government may use this Bill not just to enable ANSTO to
usefully lend its expertise to national nuclear waste management but to
pre-empt and close off opportunities for the community to express its concerns
over the proposed nuclear waste repository in the Northern Territory.
The Opposition emphasises strongly its concern that the Government may
use the legislation to allow the Lucas Heights nuclear facility to become a de
facto national waste repository in the event of any delays or other problems
with any planned national repository. Labor opposes Lucas Heights becoming the
site of a national waste repository.
While supporting the extension of ANSTO's powers, the Opposition will
be pressing the Government on these broader waste issues and requiring
reassurances in relation to storage at Lucas Heights.
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