Labor, Libs ram through nuclear bill

February 26, 2011

Labor, Liberal and National MPs lined up to pass the Labor government's National Radioactive Waste Management Bill through the House of Representatives on February 23.

Greens MP Adams Bandt and independents Andrew Wilke, Rob Oakeshott and Bob Katter did not support the bill.

If passed in the senate, the bill will pave the way for the construction of a national nuclear waste dump at Muckaty, north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.

The legislation overrides NT legislation designed to ban nuclear waste dumps in the territory.

Bandt said the bill was being rammed through against the wishes of the people of the NT and that the traditional owners were having the tip “dumped on them”, The Australian reported on February 25.

Muckaty traditional owners are opposed to the dump and are expected to launch a legal challenge. Farmers and other residents are also opposed to the dump.

Environment Centre NT spokesperson Cat Eaton said about 75 people protested on the steps of the NT parliament on February 23, The NT Times reported on February 24.

With bipartisan support from Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition, the bill is expected to pass through the senate this week.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlum said the Greens would try to amend the legislation, including measures to restrict the power of the resources minister, ABC News reported on February 23.

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