Representatives from a tiny Queensland town have travelled to Canberra to voice concerns about being on a shortlist for nuclear waste dump sites.
Oman Ama, west of Warwick, was in November named as one of six potential dump sites identified by the federal government, which began a four-month consultation period.
Resources Minister John Frydenberg promised residents any concerns would be taken into account prior to a final decision.
Members of the group Friends of Oman Ama will meet with two of Mr Frydenberg’s advisors on Tuesday, believing their questions about the process have not been adequately answered.
‘There’s some real damage happening – in family, friends, there’s division in the community’, spokesman Mark Russell told AAP.
‘The degree of harm and hurt is only going to be exacerbated as this process goes on.’
Mr Russell said the government was yet to clarify how it would measure “community acceptance”.
‘We have no way of identifying where the goalposts are,’ he said.
‘It’s a very murky area, but it’s a key part of the process – because (the minister) is pinning his approach on this to the consultation factor.’
Oman Ama is a potential site because one land holder expressed an interest to an offer of “four times” the retail value of his property, Mr Russell said.
He said residents were not concerned about the owner’s decision, but the way in which the government had begun the process based on one landowner’s interest.
Other property owners were worried about the financial impact and had spoken to bank managers, real estate agents and insurance brokers, Mr Russell added.
‘They have been told if you get a radioactive waste management facility in your area, your land values are most likely to depreciate’, he said.
The preferred site is expected to be in operation by 2020 and will house low to intermediate nuclear waste – including material used in medical treatments.
Mr Russell said the problem was not a national safety, security or industrial urgency issue.
Mr Frydenberg’s office has been contacted for comment.