Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) (Prohibition Of Other Nuclear Facilities) Amendment Bill

24 Oct 2007 archivespeech

This speech is to indicate that the Liberal Party will not be supporting the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) (Prohibition Of Other Nuclear Facilities) Amendment Bill.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (17:02): It will come as no surprise that the Liberal Party will not be supporting this bill, and I will briefly outline the reasons. The mover of the bill, the Hon. Mark Parnell, has outlined in his second reading speech that 'the Greens are introducing the bill today to make absolutely certain that the current administrative ban on nuclear power stations has some legal teeth'. The proposal is that the only way that a nuclear power station or other facility could be established in this state would be by a reversal of an act of parliament.

The position of the Liberal Party is that we believe there should be an informed debate, and this effectively closes the door on that debate. Without wishing to be too self-indulgent, I distinctly remember that as a teenager one of the big things that were front of mind in the list of fears of young people was a third world war and a nuclear war, and for that reason a lot of people of my generation feared nuclear power.

An honourable member interjecting:

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: That is right; I distinctly remember that. So, that was something that was a great fear of my generation. I believe that the fears of the current teenagers would be much closer to global warming and, indeed, I note from an Advertiser poll of a range of different high school students that nuclear power was not something that featured in their list of concerns whatsoever. Obviously, global warming and water security were key issues. So, we believe we should not be shutting the door on this debate.

In relation to the government, I find some of its comments amusing; it is all right for us to dig up uranium in Australia as long as we are not using it for such purposes in this state. So, it is really just a whole lot of positioning on the government's part and, in spite of the words of the speaker prior to me, I believe its position is inconsistent and incongruous.

There is no doubt that our traditional reliance on fossil fuels, particularly in this state, may well have an end date, and we need to look at alternatives sooner rather than later. The technological advancement in the field of energy is very rapid and, therefore, I believe that a lot of concerns that have been raised in relation to reactor accidents such as Chernobyl are not particularly relevant today. So, in the interests of enabling the debate to continue and not shutting the door on what may well turn out to be a much cleaner form of energy, we oppose this bill.