Former anti-nuclear campaigner Peter Garrett’s approval of a new uranium mine in South Australia highlights the need to address the Rudd Government’s mixed messages on uranium, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
“Mr Garrett’s approval of the Four Mile uranium mine today further increases Australia’s significant stake as one of the world’s leading uranium producers,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“Australia’s increased role in world uranium production only heightens the need to resolve inconsistencies in our export relationships, in particular the Rudd Government’s failure to ratify an agreement to cooperate with Russia on peaceful nuclear energy use.*
“This treaty was negotiated by the former Howard Government in good faith with the Russian Federation in order to maximise our export opportunities whilst ensuring this was done with the utmost safeguards in place.
“Nuclear energy has an increasingly important role in making a contribution to climate change mitigation, especially in major emitting countries such as Russia, China and India.
“Yet the Rudd Government has taken a different approach to uranium exports into each of these three major economies.
“The export of uranium is of major importance to the future economy of South Australia in particular, with the Four Mile Uranium Project alone having the potential to add $200 million a year to the state’s export earnings.
“There remains an urgent need for the Rudd Government to find appropriate means for Australia to supply uranium designed for peaceful purposes in a consistent way. This pressure is only intensified with approval for one more mine.”
*Senator Birmingham is a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties which last year inquired into an Agreement with the Russian Federation on cooperation in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Coalition Senators’ Dissenting Report can be found online at http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jsct/14may2008/report1.htm