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Bandt to vote against government and force a vote on nuclear dump

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 20 Feb 2011

For the first time Greens MP Adam Bandt will vote against a government bill in Federal Parliament today and seek to highlight the governments failure to properly consult traditional owners about plans for a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory.

The National Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2010, which sets up the legal regime for a radioactive waste dump at Muckaty north of Tennant Creek, will be debated today.

The planned law overrides all State and Territory legislation that could affect the dump plan and exempts Resource Minister Ferguson from compliance with key Commonwealth environment and Indigenous protections. The Greens in the Senate have previously strongly opposed the legislation.

Mr Bandt will move an amendment to delay passage of the bill until Minister Ferguson consults with Traditional Owners who are opposed to the dump. This pre-requisite recommendation from an earlier Senate Inquiry into the dump laws has been completely ignored by Minister Ferguson.

"It is a year since this bill was first introduced yet the Minister has still not met with the traditional owners who are the target of this legislation. If Minister Ferguson wants to dump nuclear waste on their land, he should have the courtesy and the courage to first front the community", Greens MP Adam Bandt said today.

"Instead the government is attempting to ram this bill through the Parliament before legalĀ proceedings by Traditional Owners opposed to the dump begin in the Federal Court this Friday."

"The truncated House committee inquiry into this legislation conducted over the summer break was a cynical whitewash. There were no public hearings. No public input and no proper investigation into the implications of this bill."

"Martin Fergusons nuclear agenda was on display last week with his push to sell uranium to India and today he is again riding roughshod over proper process."

"There is enormous disquiet about this whole process in both my electorate and Minister Fergusons seat in Batman. The Minister risks his reputation with Batman voters if he fails to meet with the traditional owners."

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