Resources minister Keith Pitt said today legislative amendments had been introduced to parliament to “support the delivery” of the facility, at Napandee near Kimba.
Pitt said the project would give certainty to Australia’s nuclear medicine industry and consolidate waste currently scattered across the country.
“If we want the benefits of nuclear applications, which are used in the diagnosis of heart and lung conditions and the treatment of specific cancers, we have to deal responsibly with the waste produced and that is exactly what the Government is doing,” he said.
“For more than 40 years, Australian Governments have sought a site for a facility to store Australia’s radioactive waste, which is spread over more than 100 locations like hospitals, universities and science facilities.
“Under this Government, decisive action has been taken to finally provide a facility where we can consolidate existing and future radioactive waste stream.”
The Bill would also enable the establishment of a $20m community fund to help deliver on federal commitments to Kimba, which Pitt said “broadly supports” the facility.
Kimba was chosen after a four-year process and is expected to be a nuclear waste dump for 100 years.
About 45 people will be employed at the site, which the government says will store low-level waste permanently and intermediate-level waste temporarily.
Environmental and indigenous groups oppose the dump, but a recent poll conducted around Kimba returned a 62 per cent vote in favour of the facility.
A site near Hawker was ruled out after a community survey found minority support.
Native title has been extinguished at the Kimba site, but the government insists it wants to protect indigenous cultural heritage and work with the Aboriginal community near the facility.
“I thank the people of Kimba, Hawker, Quorn and surrounds, Traditional Owner groups, the Kimba District and Flinders Ranges councils and the Outback Communities Authority for their participation in this process,” Pitt said today.
“In particular I thank the Kimba community for their considered and constructive approach, and look forward to working with all community members to deliver this facility.”
The draft laws will be considered by a parliamentary committee so stakeholders can give feedback.
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