No more time to waste: Labor urged to act on key election promise

\NoNational environment and medical groups have welcomed today’s move by the Australian Greens to repeal former Howard Governments laws aimed at imposing a nuclear dump on the Northern Territory.

Media Release

September 25, 2008

No more time to waste: Labor urged to act on key election promise

National environment and medical groups have welcomed today’s move by the Australian Greens to repeal former Howard Governments laws aimed at imposing a nuclear dump on the Northern Territory.

"A year ago the federal Labor Party committed to repeal the heavy handed Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act. After nine months in government it is now time for this to happen,” stated Natalie Wasley, Beyond Nuclear Initiative campaigner based in Alice Springs.

There have been clear and repeated calls from targeted communities, Indigenous and human rights organisations, the NT government and national environment and public health groups for Labor to fulfil its election promise to dump the CRWMA.

 “We welcome the repeal motion put forward today by Senator Scott Ludlam. There was an unequivocal commitment from the ALP to repeal this draconian and undemocratic law. Labor needs to act to honor its clear election promise and reflect the national ALP party platform,” Ms Wasley said.

Dr Jim Green, Friends of the Earth Australia nuclear campaigner added, “In Opposition, Labor described these laws as 'extreme', 'arrogant', 'draconian', 'sordid' and 'profoundly shameful'.  Nothing has changed, this is still true and it is time for Labor to remove these racist laws.”

Medical and public health professionals have added their voice to the repeal call with Dr Hilary Tyler from the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (NT Branch) calling on the government “to act in the public interest by supporting the repeal Bill and revisiting the alleged 'need' for the Lucas Heights reactor, the primary source of the radioactive waste. Labor MPs including Minister Jenny Macklin are on record acknowledging that there is no need for a reactor in Australia for medical or scientific needs."

The CRWMA removes all rights to "procedural fairness"; allows the imposition of a nuclear waste dump in the absence of any consultation with or consent from Aboriginal Traditional Owners; overrides the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 and the Native Title Act 1993; overrides NT laws prohibiting transport and storage of nuclear waste; and undermines a raft of environmental, public health and safety laws.

In June this year, the listed environment and health groups called for the ALP government repeal the CRWMA. The groups further asked the government not pursue any Territory sites for a federal dump and direct the money allocated in the last Federal Budget to be used for a national study of waste management options.

Contact:
Natalie Wasley 0429 900 774
Dr Jim Green 0417 318 368
Dr Hilary Tyler 0419 244 012

A statement calling for repeal of the CRMWA, sent to the Prime Minister in June was signed by:
 
1. Beyond Nuclear Initiative – Natalie Wasley, uranium project coordinator
2. Friends of the Earth Australia – Dr Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner
3. The Wilderness Society – Alec Marr, Executive Director
4. Greenpeace Australia Pacific – Steve Campbell, campaign director
5. Top End Aboriginal Conservation Alliance – Donna Jackson, convenor
6. Medical Association for the Prevention of War – Dr Sue Wareham, OAM, President, MAPW (Australia); Dr Hilary Tyler (NT Branch)
7. Australian Student Environment Network
8. Environment Centre of the Northern Territory
9. Anti Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia – Jo Vallentine, convenor
10. Arid Lands Environment Centre – Jimmy Cocking, coordinator
11. Public Health Association – Michael Moore, Chief Executive Officer