Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Birney rules out nuclear power, waste dump.

Birney rules out nuclear power, waste dump. 03/10/2005. ABC News Online

Birney rules out nuclear power, waste dump
The Western Australian Opposition Leader says the Liberals will not pursue the possibility of Australia using nuclear power nor a waste dump in the Goldfields, despite recommendations from the party's annual state conference.

The conference yesterday unanimously urged Liberal MPs to consider storing Australia's nuclear waste at the Mount Walton facility, near Coolgardie.

A motion for the feasibility of nuclear power to be investigated was overwhelmingly passed.

Opposition Leader Matt Birney says he will only support a separate resolution for the party to pursue uranium mining.

He says the conference was expressing an ideological point of view that nuclear power is okay.

"Everybody that voted for that understands that we've got plenty of coal and we've got plenty of gas, and we don't have a requirement for any more energy," he said.

"With respect to the waste repository, the Federal Government have made their decision and they have chosen the Northern Territory and so that motion is now irrelevant.

"There were people that had a philosophical point of view about those two matters and state conference is a good forum for people to express those philosophical point of views."

A resolution for the Liberals to pursue uranium mining is expected to be adopted in a party room meeting next week.

Industry approval

The resources sector has applauded the Liberals' decision to pursue uranium mining.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy's policy director, David Parker, says global demand for uranium is increasing every year and there are safeguards in place to control its use.

"I suppose it's fair to say that the uranium mining industry in Australia is very strictly controlled and monitored by both state and federal government regulations, in states where it is undertaken," he said.

"Like any mining project, uranium mines must have environmental approvals prior to commencing."

He says the industry's safety record has improved significantly in the past few decades.

"Uranium mining has been undertaken in Australia since the 1950s and we believe that our experience and capabilities in this field over a period of more than half a century makes Australia one of the world's leaders in uranium mining and processing as well as mine closure and rehabilitation," he said.

New position

Meanwhile, Mr Birney has created a new position designed to promote Western Australia's booming resources sector to Asia.

Simon O'Brien will be the Opposition's spokesman for Asian economic development, aiming to strengthen trade links with India, China and Japan.

Mr Birney says he and Mr O'Brien will travel to India in February to meet political leaders and sell Western Australia's export industry.

"We are trading very well with Japan, we are trading very well with China," he said.

"If we can create some trade links with India, we will have completed the trifecta and there will then be nothing to stop Western Australia from being catapulted into the economic stratosphere.

"India is undergoing a massive industrialisation phase.

"They have over a billion people and they have an insatiable demand for things like iron ore, gas and coal and to a lesser extent agricultural products."

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