Inquiry gives rural NSW a voice on Nuclear Waste

June 16, 2003

Environment group Friends of the Earth (FoE) has today urged communities in NSW to make sure their voice is clearly heard over Federal Government plans to transport and dump nuclear waste.

The NSW Parliament has now called for submissions into a state Inquiry on the issue of radioactive waste, a move welcomed by FoE. "We urge communities to make their concerns known to the Inquiry either through their local or state representatives or by their own written submission," said FoE campaigner Loretta O¹Brien.

The Joint Select Committee on the Transportation and Storage of Nuclear Waste will consider and report on the Federal proposal to transport nuclear waste through and potentially store waste within New South Wales. NSW communities have until the 31st of July to respond to the Inquiry, which is set to report in December 2003.

Federal Environment Minister David Kemp gave approval in May to plans to transport radioactive waste from the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in southern Sydney via outer Sydney, the Blue Mountains and western NSW to a dump in South Australia.

Friends of the Earth have been actively alerting communities along the preferred Federal transport route to the threats of radioactive waste transport and dumping. These communities include Katoomba, Lithgow, Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo and Broken Hill.

"This Inquiry will help lift the lid on Federal Government nuclear secrecy and allow a real examination of the plans and the costs," concluded Bruce Thompson. "The Federal Government must accept that communities are not prepared to live in ?Nuke South Wales¹ and must end its plans to generate, transport, dump and store radioactive waste".

"Trucks of radioactive waste driving through communities on an already stretched road system is a threat that rural communities understand," said Friends of the Earth campaigner Loretta O¹Brien.

"This inquiry is the first real opportunity for communities to share local knowledge of the dangers posed by the plan to transport nuclear waste through rural NSW. Being active today will reduce the threat of NSW communities being radioactive tomorrow."

Further information and comment:

Bruce Thompson
Mob: 0417 318 368

Loretta O¹Brien
Mob: 0418 178 053