Communities unite to halt government nuclear push
Monday, 16th September 2019 at 5:50 pm
More than 50 community groups have warned the federal government that nuclear energy has no role to play in Australia’s energy future as public submissions to a federal inquiry into nuclear power close.
Environmental, faith, union, Aboriginal and public health groups released a joint statement on Monday, describing nuclear energy as a “dangerous distraction” from the government taking real action on climate change.
The statement called for the government to rule out changing the law to allow nuclear energy in Australia, and instead embrace renewable energy.
“Renewable energy is the cleanest, quickest, cheapest and most credible way to power Australian homes and workplaces, and repower regional communities and the national economy,” the statement said.
Signatories included the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Public Health Association of Australia, Uniting and Catholic church organisations, the Smart Energy Council, the Aboriginal led Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, and the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF).
Dave Sweeney, ACF nuclear free campaigner, told Pro Bono News that nuclear power was a wasteful source of energy and could pose a great risk to communities.
“If something goes wrong, it goes spectacularly wrong, and the consequences of that are intergenerational. You only need to look at Fukushima or Chernobyl to see that,” Sweeney said.
He said while it was low carbon, it wasn’t clean and left behind toxic waste that remained for thousands of years.
He said the widespread support that the statement had received demonstrated that this was more than just a fight for the environment.
“Sometimes there’s this false dichotomy of workers against environmental issues but what we are finding more and more in the trade union sector is they are seeing that our renewable energy future is not just about the environment, it’s about community and worker benefits as well,” Sweeney said.
With submissions to a government inquiry on nuclear power closing on Monday, groups involved in the anti-nuclear campaign will look to formally present in the inquiry in the coming months.
Sweeney said it was also vital community members across Australia did their bit in keeping up the noise around the issue.
“Ring your local politician, when you see them in the street or at a forum, mention that you do not want nuclear power,” he said.
“We need to reinforce that sense that this is an idea whose time has not come, this is an idea that we don’t want in our communities.”