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News Media Releases Uranium mine plan needs a real nuclear test:
Uranium mine plan needs a real nuclear test:
Friday, 26 June 2009 11:35

Environment groups; Unions call for public inquiry


Leading environment, trade union and public health groups have combined in a call for the state government to conduct a dedicated public inquiry into controversial plans for uranium mining in WA.


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The groups have today submitted an appeal to the Minister for Environment calling for the highest level of assessment for the uranium project BHP Billiton has proposed for Yeelirrie, 500 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie.


An environmental public inquiry under section 42 of the Environmental Protection Act (1986) has the status and powers of a Royal Commission. This form of public inquiry has never been undertaken in WA. The groups say the serious and wide-ranging impacts of this proposal demand this unprecedented level of scrutiny.

"Uranium mining is a complex and contested industry that divides opinions as well as atoms," said CCWA Director Piers Verstegen. "The Barnett Government now has the ability - and the responsibility - to put this project and this industry under the spotlight with a public inquiry".

"If those in favour of uranium mining truly believe their rhetoric they should support this call for an independent examination of what uranium mining means for our state."

"There are a range of very significant impacts and issues associated with the uranium mining that are beyond the scope of the EPA to properly consider, including worker and community health and safety, and impacts on Aboriginal communities. Only a full public inquiry could effectively examine these issues."

Unions WA assistant secretary Simone McGurk said "WA does not have a uranium mining industry and before a minority government swings open the stable door Western Australians deserve to have a comprehensive look at the industry's promises, problems and performance."

"Plans for uranium mining pose many serious issues for workers and the wider community and radioactive mine waste lasts a lot longer than a politician's promise."



Piers Verstegen (Conservation Council of WA) 0411 557 892

Simone McGurk (Unions WA) 0407 199 890

Dave Sweeney (Australian Conservation Foundation) 0408 317 812

Peter Robertson (The Wilderness Society WA) 0409 089 020

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