Year 1 report: Labor fails nuclear test

\YearOne year into its term in office, the Rudd government is in danger of failing its nuclear test according to national environment group Friends of the Earth.

MEDIA RELEASE - NOVEMBER 24, 2008

YEAR 1 REPORT: LABOR FAILS NUCLEAR TEST

One year into its term in office, the Rudd government is in danger of failing its nuclear test according to national environment group Friends of the Earth.

FoE has examined federal Labor's performance across a range of nuclear issues to mark the first anniversary of the election of the Rudd government. The examination is part of a wider push to hold the federal government accountable for delivering on key election and policy commitments.

"One year in and not enough has changed," said FoE nuclear campaigner Dr Jim Green. "Martin Ferguson spends his time trying to open new uranium mines, ignoring leaks at the existing ones and attempting to impose a nuclear waste dump on the NT. Ziggy Switkowski diverts attention from his failed little reactor in Sydney by spruiking plans for 25 much larger nuclear reactors. Peter Garrett could not possibly believe his own claim that dumping liquid radioactive waste in groundwater at the Beverley uranium mine is 'world's best practice'."

"Labor should repeal the former Howard government's undemocratic nuclear dump laws and develop a responsible and credible approach to radioactive waste management. They also need to get fair dinkum about their policy of 'best practice' in the uranium sector as the current mines are cutting corners and pose a growing human and environmental risk," Dr Green said.

FoE welcomed some parts of Labor's nuclear policies and approaches including the formation of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament as well as continuing restrictions on uranium sales to Russia and India.

Dr Green said: "However, even that good work has been undermined. The Rudd government prohibits the export of Australian uranium to India and other countries which have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but supports other countries exporting nuclear materials to India.

"Kelvin Thomson's parliamentary treaties committee showed honesty and integrity by rejecting the Howard/Putin uranium agreement yet foreign minister Stephen Smith claims that the agreement 'meets all of Australia's long-standing safeguards requirements'. The truth is that there have been no safeguards inspections in Russia since 2001 and there is no requirement in the Howard/Putin agreement for any inspections to take place in future."

The FoE report card on Labor's nuclear policies is available here .

Contact: Jim Green 0417 318368