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Can we take the money and run?
Adelaide University Students in Prosh Procession 1948 (Image: State Library SA B70380-9)
South Australia's economy has become increasingly dire in recent years, with the loss of important manufacturing industries creating significant unemployment. This has been compounded by stupendous expenditure on the new Royal Adelaide Hospital - the most expensive building in Australia, and one of the most expensive buildings in the world.
Of course the State government is desperately trying to turn the tide, selling off heritage buildings, Fort Largs, and any bits of land that it can find.
The Labor government has also reversed its long held opposition to a nuclear waste dump in South Australia, and commissioned a Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission to look at possible ways to develop a nuclear income stream.
Parliament House Adelaide - Ground Zero for Nuclear Dump Debate
The Royal Commission report produced some breathtaking figures for potential income from hosting a nuclear waste dump in South Australia. This immediately generated waves of excitement and euphoria, with the prospect of a quick and easy fix to our economy. But is it too good to be true? Is greed clouding our judgement in our desire to improve the economy? Aren't their risks for decades into the future? And shouldn't the traditional owners of the land have their say?
I personally have found the issues to be clouded and not always simple. Listening to many viewpoints will help to make a well founded decision.
The media has been full of pro-dump views, but less has been heard from those opposing a nuclear future for SA. If you would like to know more about the arguments opposing the nuclear wast dump, the South Australian Greens are hosting a free forum entitled "Nuclear Waste Dump - The Wrong Way for SA". Chaired by Mark Parnell MLC, there will be three main speakers, followed by a question and answer session open to the floor.
Anti Nuclear Peace March in Adelaide 1966 (Image: Advertiser Newspapers)
The first speaker at the Nuclear Waste Dump Forum will be Senator Scott Ludlam, Greens Senator for Western Australia and federal party spokesperson on nuclear issues. He examined the nuclear industry in depth in Australia and overseas, and concluded that "the proposal to dump international nuclear waste into an interim store in South Australia is fatally flawed. Nuclear waste is an intergenerational liability, not a short-term asset".
The second speaker is Dr Jillian Marsh, an Adnyamathanha traditional owner with a PhD in Environmental Studies. Last month Jillian said "The First Nations people of Australia have been bullied and pushed around, forcibly removed from their families and their country, denied access and the right to care for their own land for over 200 years. Our health and wellbeing compares with third world countries, our people crowd the jails. Nobody wants toxic waste in their back yard, this is true the world over."
Research Director of The Australia Institute Roderick Campbell is the final speaker. After examining the Royal Commission report "Digging for Answers", he concluded that "The business case for a nuclear waste storage facility in South Australia is exaggerated. The project is risky, and a loss overall is well within the range of possible outcomes".
If you think that earning $6 billion dollars a year sounds too good to be true, then this free forum will outline the risks and dangers, helping you to decide your viewpoint.
The free Nuclear Waste Dump forum is being held on Thursday June 9 from 7-8.30pm at the German Club. If you plan to attend please RSVP on the website.