Premier fails to garner support from SA public for nuclear waste dump claims Opposition leader Marshall Sheradyn Holderhead Political Reporter, The Advertiser November 10, 2016 THE push to establish a nuclear waste dump in South Australia is “all but dead and buried”, Opposition Leader Steven Marshall has declared.
Before returning from visiting the world’s most advanced nuclear disposal facility, Mr Marshall told The Advertiser it was clear from Finland’s experience that the public had to be on board.
“Personally, I have a much greater ambition for SA than becoming the world’s nuclear dump,” he said.
Mr Marshall said the decision that two-thirds of the citizen’s jury did not want the proposal pursued under any circumstance was “a complete failure to get the public onside”.
“Finland is the world leader in creating a permanent repository for nuclear waste. They have spent 40 years getting to this point. And that’s just for their own waste,” Mr Marshall said.
“The clear message here is that this policy from (Premier) Jay Weatherill — that he could receive a Royal Commission report and then make a decision within a matter of months — was ill-conceived. The things they (Finland) have achieved took decades, not months.
“The Citizen’s Jury result showed that Jay Weatherill could not be trusted to deliver on such a significant project. He couldn’t even get Gillman right.”
Today, a group of environmentalists will hand Mr Weatherill a petition with 35,000 signatures calling on the Government to abandon plans for a nuclear waste dump.
The group includes indigenous leaders Enice Marsh, Lesley Coulthard, Regina and Vivianne McKenzie, Tony Clark, Karina and Rose Lester and representatives from conservation groups.
Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Dave Sweeney said burying nuclear waste in SA would leave an “unwelcome toxic legacy for hundreds of thousands of years”.
Mr Marshall said Finland’s Onkalo nuclear waste disposal facility was “impressive”.
He said that while he was not worried about the safety of such a facility, he had “serious concerns” about economic return. “The longer we look at this issue, the more questions are raised about the viability of this project,” he said. “Nothing I saw in Finland waylaid those concerns.”
A Liberal joint party room meeting would be held on Monday to discuss Mr Marshall’s report from Finland and to hear from Liberal MPs Rob Lucas and Dan van Holst Pellekaan, who were members of the parliamentary committee investigating the proposal.
Earlier this week, Mr Weatherill said the Government would wait for a community views report that includes results from 30,000 online surveys and in-person feedback provided by 16,000 people, before making a decision on how to proceed.
He said the jury decision would be given “substantial weight” in the final government position to be announced to Parliament before the end of the year.
The Government expects to receive the community views report, compiled by consultants, early next week.