Senate debates

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Questions without Notice

Australian Nuclear Energy Pty Ltd

2:00 pm

Photo of Nick MinchinNick Minchin (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance and Administration) Share this | Hansard source

I also draw the Senate’s attention to a media statement issued today by Australian Nuclear Energy Pty Ltd, the company in question, which says:

The Australian community will ultimately decide the best way to provide sustainable energy for our country. Australian Nuclear Energy Pty Ltd is a private company established to examine potential commercial responses to future energy needs. ANE company secretary Mr Bruce Fitzgerald says that, contrary to today’s media reports, the company has not put forward a proposal to build nuclear power plants in Australia. The company will make no further comment.

So the company is in effect denying the gist of the press reports today as to any plans it may have for nuclear power plants.

I will, for the sake of Senator Wong, find out if any other members of the government have discussed anything of this sort with the three principals of this company, but I am not aware of that. Mr Macfarlane, I saw reported in the media today, says he had not specifically discussed this proposal. But I am happy to come back to Senator Wong with any information I can give her with respect to any other members of the government.

I should say that we have been quite open in our position on this matter. We did commission the Switkowski committee to examine the place of nuclear power in Australia’s energy future. The Switkowski report was a very comprehensive examination of the question of whether or not nuclear power had a role to play in Australia’s energy future. The government is examining that report and will respond to it in due course.

The minister I represent, on whose behalf I have been asked this question, Mr Macfarlane, has issued a statement today making it clear that under current Australian law, at both a federal and state level, nuclear power is not permitted in this country. It is actually prohibited by law. However, we do believe that nuclear power has to be on the table as one of the energy options for Australia.

The real point about this issue is that it exposes the Labor Party as utter hypocrites on the question of greenhouse gas emissions. They are running around the country creating a scare campaign—


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