The State Government will move this week to repeal laws that prevents it from consulting on the merits of a nuclear waste storage facility once the Royal Commission hands down its final report to Government due in May.
Section 13 of the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000, states:
“Despite any other Act or law to the contrary, no public money may be appropriated, expended or advanced to any person for the purpose of encouraging or financing any activity associated with the construction or operation of a nuclear waste storage facility in this State.”
Premier Jay Weatherill said that the repeal does not signal a shift in the Government’s policy on nuclear storage, however it would remove barriers that prevent consultation with the community about the issue.
“Once the Royal Commission hands down its final report, there will be a period of extensive community engagement on this topic and I expect this will involve us committing public resources to this process,” Mr Weatherill said.
“Our legal advice is that the legislation as it currently stands may prevent the Government from advancing this conversation with the community – therefore it is important we remove this barrier before we receive the final report.
“We are also advised that that the legislation does not prevent the Commission from completing its work.
“The repeal would not pave the way for a nuclear waste facility in South Australia as any such policy decision would require further legislation to be brought to the Parliament.”
The Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000 was first introduced in May 2000 by the then Environment Minister Iain Evans in the former Liberal Government.
The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission released its tentative findings on 15 February and will deliver its final report to Government by 6 May. The Government will then consult on the report’s findings before a position is reached by the end of 2016.
Mr Weatherill said South Australians still have time to have their say on the Royal Commission’s tentative findings.
“This is an issue that affects all South Australians, so I encourage everyone to read the tentative findings and share their view with the Royal Commission during the current public feedback phase.”