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A businessman, an environmentalist and an oncologist walked into a citizens' jury...

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Passionate advocates and fierce opponents of a state-based high-level nuclear waste dump will confront the first Citizens’ Jury debating the issue over the weekend.

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Business SA chief Nigel McBride, who last week confirmed his organisation was now “advocating actively and positively for a high-level waste repository” will join a panel of prominent figures to debate the issues and field questions from the 50 jurors on Sunday.

McBride will butt heads with the likes of Conservation Council SA chief Craig Wilkins, who has strongly argued against increasing SA’s involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle.

They will join SA’s chief scientist Dr Leanna Read, SA Native Title Services CEO Keith Thomas and ethicist Simon Longstaff on the panel, along with mining lobbyist Jason Kuchel, Kelly-Anne Saffin from the Northern and Yorke Regional Development Australia and Michael Penniment, Director of Radiation Oncology at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Agency chief executive Madeline Richardson said in a statement the panel was “a dynamic way of exploring some of the big issues in an open and informative way”, with the discussion to be livestreamed to the public.

“It is about letting everyday South Australians frame what the community should focus on, rather than the Government, politicians or lobby groups setting the agenda,” she said.

The jury will meet for four days across two weekends to identify key issues that require further debate.

Jury convenor Emily Jenke, from DemocracyCo, said the panel discussion was “designed to stretch the jurors’ thinking, spark ideas and explore issues through presentations by speakers who can elevate the conversation”.

“We know jurors want to hear from people who have strong opinions, and also people who have specific expertise,” she said.

“The group is made up of a range of people – leaders, experts and people with a specific interest – and that’s the balance we are looking for.”

Topics such as health, Aboriginal heritage, environment, industry, ethics, community, business and potential reputational damage will be canvassed.

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