The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is continuing its long-running stance against the shipping of any nuclear material in or out of South Australia.
The Turnbull Government has shortlisted three sites in South Australia that could be used to permanently hold low-level nuclear waste and temporarily store intermediate-level waste.
Two of these sites are at Kimba, on the Eyre Peninsula, while a third is near Hawker, in the northern Flinders Ranges.
Whyalla, Port Lincoln and Port Pirie were named as potential nuclear waste ports in three “Site Characterisation, Technical Reports” released by the Federal Department of Industry in July.
MUA South Australian Branch Secretary Jamie Newlyn said MUA members are long time opponents of Nuclear Waste Storage in Australia and led the charge against the former SA Government’s International Waste Dump Royal Commission and consequent citizens’ jury.
“The Turnbull Government’s recent declaration that sites in Kimba and Flinders Ranges could be used to store intermediate-level nuclear waste is incredibly concerning,” Newlyn said.
“The MUA is further alarmed that the Federal Department of Industry has identified Whyalla and Port Pirie – where our members currently work – as potential ports to unload this toxic and unsafe material.
“The MUA, along with the mayors of Port Pirie and Whyalla, have been blindsided by this announcement yet the safety of port workers and the communities through which this hazardous material is transported is critical.
A postal ballot will begin in Kimba and Hawker on August 20 to determine public support.
Federal Minister for Resources Matt Canavan has said the facility would need “broad community support” to go ahead, noting that he will take into account the views of neighbouring landholders and the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA).
Before the ballot, a Senate inquiry into the site selection process, which includes the impact a community benefits program is having on support, will hand down its findings.
“The Turnbull Government is dividing communities, dividing families and dividing friendships over this decision and are trying to ruin the fabric of these country areas,” Newlyn said.
“The MUA will be discussing this with our members in the region to explain the dangers and we are confident that our decisions will again be on the right side of history.
“The MUA is well-known for taking a strong stand against South Africa’s apartheid regime, supporting Indonesian independence, demonstrating against the Vietnam War and refusing to load pig iron to Japan in the lead-up to World War II.”