NSW State Labor parliamentarians Walt Secord and Janelle Saffin have vowed to work together to fight One Nation senator Mark Latham’s legislation to set up a nuclear power industry in NSW.
The Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Repeal Bill 2019 was the first bill introduced by Mark Latham into the new State Parliament on May 7.
It reads: ‘a bill for an Act to repeal the Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Act 1986 and make consequential amendments to other legislation’.
In 2012, the then-O’Farrell government (Liberal/National) passed the Mining Legislation Amendment (Uranium Exploration Bill) 2012 to allow exploration for uranium in NSW. At the time, the Liberal-Nationals claimed that it would only allow exploration and not the creation of an industry.
Secord and Saffin say that Mark Latham’s bill follows a push last year by Nationals leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro, to establish a nuclear power industry in NSW.
They also say that Mr Barilaro also completed a taxpayer-funded visit to the United States where he was drumming up interest in US investors to build nuclear reactors in NSW. At the time, 18 sites were identified as possible sites for nuclear power plants in NSW– including a 250km stretch of coast from Port Macquarie to north of Grafton.
Fight against nuclear power
Mr Secord, who is Shadow Minister for the North Coast and Upper House deputy Opposition leader and Ms Saffin, who is the Country Labor MP for Lismore said they would fight the bill.
‘This is the next step in the development of a nuclear power industry in NSW,’ said Mr Secord said. ‘It is no coincidence that the first piece of legislation to come from the new parliamentarians was a bill to set up a nuclear power industry.
‘The Berejiklian Government has always supported a nuclear power industry.’
Ms Saffin said that the North Coast community is clear and has spoken. ‘They do not want to see nuclear reactors in NSW. We fought them on CSG and unconventional gas and we will fight them on nuclear power.
‘North Coast primary producers pride themselves on the quality of their goods and their clean and green reputation,’ she said. ‘The National Party Leader’s obsession with building nuclear reactors would jeopardise this hard fought for advantage for local producers on the North Coast.’
Saffin says nuclear reactors would tarnish NSW’s clean and green image, and threaten the reputation and emerging markets of many north coast primary industries.
‘Nuclear power is a distraction from real long term energy solutions that provide the cheapest and most sustainable forms of electricity for the community and business – which is renewable energy,’ she said.
‘The NSW Coalition Government has always harboured dreams of nuclear power plants in NSW, having first proposed a site for Jervis Bay on the South Coast in the 1960s’.