Media Release November 12, 2012
A broad coalition opposing uranium exploration in NSW will gather outside State Parliament at 12pm tomorrow, Tuesday November 13.
The rally marks the end of a 60-day period for Expressions of Interest, allowing Minister Chris Hartcher to invite exploration applications from selected companies.
In March the Liberal government overturned a 26-year moratorium on uranium exploration in NSW. Before the last state election, Barry O'Farrell denied his party had plans to change this longstanding policy.
Speakers at the rally include:
- Deputy Leader of the Opposition Linda Burney;
- Greens MP Jamie Parker;
- NTEU NSW Secretary Genevieve Kelly, recently returned from a Unions NSW delegation to Japan and;
- University of Sydney Adjunct Professor Richard Broinowski, author of a new book, "Fall out from Fukushima".
Natalie Wasley from the Beyond Nuclear Initiative, who helped organise the rally, warns companies they will face fierce community opposition if they go ahead with plans for exploration.
"Premier Barry O'Farrell has no mandate for his decision to take NSW down the yellowcake road. He will not get away with breaking clear commitments given to voters on the toxic issue of uranium”, said Ms Wasley.
"This rally marks the end of a 60-day Expression of Interest period and the beginning of a targeted campaign to stop any projects going ahead. I have visited communities in far-western NSW who will be on the frontline of any uranium prospecting and together we are gearing up for a big fight," added Ms Wasley.
NTEU NSW State Secretary Genevieve Kelly said Barry O'Farrell's decision to promote the nuclear industry in the wake of the Fukushima disaster is unconscionable. Her trip to Japan involved meetings with trade unions representing workers suffering illness as a result of clean up work in Fukushima.
"All nuclear reactors in Japan were shut following the disaster and only two have been reopened. Australian uranium in the TEPCO reactor at Fukushima is responsible for the devastation that has been caused in Japan following the earthquake. It is totally immoral for Premier Barry O’Farrell to be considering this destructive industry, when we could be making a positive contribution to alternative energy sources for the future."
University of Sydney Adjunct Professor Richard Broinowski says the decision to press ahead with uranium exploration in NSW has been prompted by the Commonwealth government's decision to sell uranium to India, a serious blow to nuclear disarmament efforts.
"The Gillard government feels perfectly comfortable at the prospect of selling uranium to India, a country which has a growing nuclear weapons program whilst being free from treaty-bound non-proliferation constraints. This breaches what until now has been a non-negotiable condition of selling Australian uranium abroad.
"At the same time, Prime Minister Gillard wouldn’t even take the opportunity of discussing its nuclear program with President Ahmadinejad of Iran at last week’s Bali Democracy Forum. Strange behaviour from a leader who professes to be keen on nuclear disarmament", said Mr Broinowski.
WHAT: Community protest against uranium exploration
WHEN: 12pm on Tuesday 13 November
WHERE: NSW Parliament House
CONTACT: Natalie Wasley- 0429 900 774