Senate debates

Thursday, 27 June 2013


Environment and Communications References Committee; Reference

12:34 pm

Photo of Scott LudlamScott Ludlam (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the following matter be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 30 June 2014:

The benefits and risks of the uranium mining industry and the adequacy of federal regulation of the sector, including:

(a) the extent and means through which the findings of the October 2003 Senate inquiry that the uranium sector is characterised by a pattern of underperformance and non-compliance, an absence of reliable data to measure the extent of contamination or its impact on the environment and an operational culture that gives greater weight to short term than long term considerations have been addressed;

(b) an assessment of the wide variance in predictions of future growth estimates of uranium exports and nuclear power;

(c) an assessment of the adequacy of Australian standards and responsibilities in supplying uranium to Japan and the Tokyo Electric Power Company [TEPCO] where demonstrably inadequate regulation was evident;

(d) the Government’s efforts to address recommendations and issues raised in the September 2011 United Nations (UN) system-wide study on the implications of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant;

(e) an assessment of the adequacy of environmental practices, including security fencing and warning signs to prevent access to land and waters contaminated by exploration and mining activities;

(f) an assessment of the adequacy of worker and community health and safety at uranium mine sites;

(g) the impacts, benefits and costs of uranium mines for Aboriginal people;

(h) an assessment of whether the exemptions for the uranium industry from Aboriginal heritage, environment and water legislation are necessary or justifiable;

(i) the preparedness and resourcing of regional emergency contingency planning for accidents and incidents, including education and training services;

(j) an evaluation of the frequency and severity of transport and handling accidents and the process of issuing and auditing compliance with transport radiation management plans;

(k) the performance and scope of the Australian Safeguards and Non Proliferation Office, including its capacity to fulfil its role with current human and budgetary resources;

(l) the proliferation risks associated with a policy of programmatic open ended permissions for reprocessing Australian uranium rather than a case by case policy;

(m) an assessment of the compliance of Australian uranium companies operating overseas with regard to occupational health and safety and environmental standards and laws; and

(o) other relevant related matters.

Question negatived.