Should NSW develop nuclear power capabilities? And is it time to bring Lismore’s nuclear-free signs back?
Nationals leader John Barilaro apparently thinks yes to the first question, telling his recent party conference that political correctness is making politics ‘risk-averse’ and less likely to ‘look at solutions that might really benefit us in regional NSW.’
Yet support for nuclear further than the conference room appears limited; last week the NSW Legislative Council unanimously passed a motion against establishing nuclear power in NSW.
And after Barilaro challenged NSW Labor leader Luke Foley to a debate over nuclear power in NSW, Foley accepted and suggested a public forum in Lismore as a debate venue. Foley describes nuclear power as ‘both risky and irresponsible.’
Meanwhile, Greens councillor Vanessa Ekins wants the Lismore City Council to reinstall nuclear-free signs at the entrances to Lismore, and has lodged a notice of motion for next week’s council meeting.
Cr Ekins also wants to council to write to the federal government and Page MP Kevin Hogan urging them to sign the proposed United Nations Treaty for the Banning of Nuclear Weapons Worldwide, scheduled to be signed by international governments on July 7th 2017.
‘In 1984 Council was declared a nuclear free peace zone and for many years there were signs at the entrance to the City reflecting this stance,’ she said.
‘Twenty years later council resolved to remove the signs. With the nuclear war rhetoric gaining national and international traction, it is time to make our policy known and signage at the entrances to our city is an effective tool.
Cr Ekins said federal government appeared reluctant to participate in the upcoming UN negotiations on nuclear weapons.
‘Commentators claim Australia will be sitting in self- imposed exile from one of the biggest and most important international treaty making initiatives in recent history.
‘Tim Wright, the Asia-Pacific director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons says ‘This will be the first time that Australia has ever boycotted disarmament negotiations”.
Cr Ekins said Australia was a party to treaties prohibiting chemical weapons, biological weapons, landmines and cluster munitions.
‘It beggars belief that the government is now refusing to negotiate a ban on nuclear weapons’. As a council we have an opportunity to lobby our federal government to take action.’