House debates

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Committees

Environment and Energy Committee; Report

4:10 pm

Photo of Tim WilsonTim Wilson (Goldstein, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

When we have the Labor Party's technology bigotry and anti-science, anti-technology, anti-future agenda—with not just the member for Fremantle but all other members of the opposition as well not prepared to look seriously at the challenges and opportunities that can come out of a discussion around nuclear power—what we're seeing is a close-minded approach. That's what this report specifically tries to prise open—a serious discussion around the issues.

In the Goldstein electorate, we're actually interested in these challenges around technology. We're very fortunate that, recently, the member for Fairfax, who led this important inquiry, came to the Goldstein community to have a discussion with community representatives and people who are interested in this topic, on Thursday 13 January 2020. In fact, he had two discussions. During the community forum, we had 50 locals express an interest in the issues of nuclear power and energy generation. One of the people who attended—it was wonderful to see him there—was Ian Hore-Lacey, who is a senior adviser to the London based World Nuclear Association. He categorically destroyed many of the arguments, through simple facts, evidence and reason about the potential safety of the technology and what it can do, and he made sure that there was a proper discussion with the member for Fairfax about the complexity of the issues.

Sitting behind it more than anything else when community representatives came forward—and there were pro and negative people on the issue—were genuine concerns, about health and safety and environmental management, around long-term issues around the storage of spent uranium. They came forward and said, 'Raise those concerns and put to people the facts, particularly around where storage solutions occur.' But the one thing that became abundantly clear was that people's concerns were genuine but they were often also based on misinformation. It's the sort of misinformation that we heard from the member for Fremantle and I've no doubt we'll hear from other members of the Labor Party. They're always very excited about running a scare campaign. They don't actually like to deal with the facts. That's going to be our great challenge: how to make sure the misinformation from the Australian Labor Party that leads to scaring people—as they so often do, and they have a long track record of doing so—does not mislead the Australian people.

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