Nuclear Waste (S)

Legislative Council, Wednesday 15 November 2016

Question Time

Nuclear waste

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:30 :17 ): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation. Given the significant objections of Aboriginal communities across South Australia to the use of their sacred lands to store nuclear waste, does the minister support the establishment of a nuclear waste dump in South Australia, as being pursued by the Premier?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) ( 14:30 :35 ): I thank the honourable member for his question in relation to Aboriginal communities' views. I absolutely and completely support the Premier's statement that if ever this was to be pursued, local Aboriginal communities would have a right of veto over any such proposal. I think that is the correct and the right thing to do. Certainly, it is something that I think accords with the views of Aboriginal communities that I have visited.

Over the last week, I think I have travelled about 5,000 kilometres visiting Aboriginal communities, including Pipalyatjara, Kalka, Nyapari, Amata, Umuwa, Pukatja, Mimili, Kaltjiti, Iwantja, Kenmore Park, Shirley Well, Amuroona and Railway Bore, and that is something that is quite clear, that they want to be involved in the decisions that affect them. So, having a right of veto I think is absolutely the right thing to do.

The weekend before my recent trip to the APY lands, I spent on the Far West Coast, in Ceduna, Scotdesco and Yalata. The weekend before that, I was in Adnyamathanha country at Iga Warta, talking to the Nepabunna and Copley communities as well, and the week before that in the South-East, particularly Camp Coorong, with the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority. The message I get is that Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal people want to be involved in the decisions that affect them, so I absolutely support the Premier's statement that if this ever progressed, which would require at first instance a bipartisan approach, local Aboriginal communities would have a right of veto.

Nuclear waste

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 14:32 :03 ): Supplementary: why does the minister put First Nations last? Why do they have a right of veto rather than the power to say no? Thirty-two communities have already said no. Why are they not being asked first?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) ( 14:32 :15 ): I thank the honourable member for her question. I think it is an interesting and, quite frankly, wrong way to represent what has been put forward. I absolutely support Aboriginal communities being able to say no and having their voices heard.

NUCLEAR WASTE

The Hon. S.G. WADE ( 14:32 :48 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Minister for Police in relation to the nuclear waste dump.

Leave granted.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Yesterday, the minister claimed that there had been bipartisan support for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia. I note the fact that the recent state ALP convention failed to endorse a nuclear waste dump. On Monday of this week, SA Unions secretary labelled the Premier's nuclear referendum as 'a crazy or brave move from a tone deaf leader'. I ask the minister: can the minister name a single political party in South Australia which is committed to pursuing a nuclear waste dump?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 14:33 :29 ): I will answer the last question first. I thank the honourable member for his questions. There isn't currently a political party in the South Australian parliament that is actively supporting the pursuit of a nuclear waste dump, simply because the Liberal Party—the opposition—killed it. They killed an opportunity in this state to have a decent, well thought through, thorough debate—a thorough debate. This party of government is committed to a decent, thorough, consultative debate with the South Australian public, provided it has bipartisan support.

The concept of having a decent discussion within the community is something that we relish. We like the idea of that, provided that it has bipartisan support. At the first test of political conviction, the opposition and the Leader of the Opposition have failed that test. They have failed to give the South Australian people an opportunity to have a decent discussion and thorough political debate about a potential opportunity for the state.

I have to say that the Leader of the Opposition and all of his backbench colleagues, who have abandoned principle and conviction at the first opportunity, have broken the hearts of so many South Australians who actually like the idea of having a leader who is actually open to having a public consultation and a debate. It is an appalling representation on a whole range of applicants who aspire to higher office. They can't and aren't willing to hear the South Australian public's views because they have killed it at the first opportunity. Shame on them

NUCLEAR WASTE

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 14:35 :28 ): Supplementary: has the federal Labor Party also broken the hearts of these same South Australians given that their policy is to oppose this high-level nuclear waste dump?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 14:35 :40 ): The federal parliamentary Labor Party has supported the South Australian government's idea of having an open consultation with the South Australian public. That is what they support, along with the state convention of the Labor Party, which only a few weekends ago, when everyone else was still in bed, unambiguously and unanimously resolved to support a further consultation with the South Australian public. We hoped that would be underpinned with bipartisan support, but at the first test of policy conviction, the opposition have gone running. They have gone running. The Leader of the Opposition, 'Mr No', abandoned—

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order!

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS: 'Mr No', the Leader of the Opposition, walked away from an opportunity for a public consultation, a public debate, about a significant opportunity. It is a disgrace. It is an absolute disgrace.

NUCLEAR WASTE

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 14:36 :58 ): Supplementary: was the Kool Aid that the minister drank this morning regular green or a slightly brighter colour than normal?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 14:37 :10 ): That is, of course, a reflection upon the Greens, who want to lower themselves to rhetoric and silly pathetic arguments. We, on this side of the house, the Labor Party of government, are open to a public consultation about a significant opportunity. Those opposite, who are supposed to have some sort of economic virtue on their side, have completely relinquished any opportunity to have a discussion like this. We expect that of the Greens, but, yet again, what we are seeing is the unholy alliance between the Greens and the Liberal Party.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! Order!

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS: Greenie Hon. Mr Ridgway. Greenie Hon. Mr Lucas. Greenie Hon. Ms Lensink. They should all be absolutely ashamed of themselves for forgoing an opportunity to have a decent economic debate about a potential opportunity for this state.

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