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News Media Releases Uranium mine plan needs a real nuclear test: Environment groups; Unions call for public inquiry
Uranium mine plan needs a real nuclear test: Environment groups; Unions call for public inquiry
Wednesday, 01 July 2009 15:30
26 June 2009
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.
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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