Communist Party of Australia

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Issue #1612      September 25, 2013

Qld’s yellowcake roadmap

The Queensland government’s new “action plan” to advance uranium mining is in direct conflict with clear commitments made by the new Coalition federal government during the recent election campaign, the Australian Conservation Foundation said in a statement.

A feature of the Queensland government’s yellowcake roadmap is a push to have “all uranium mining proposals in Queensland” assessed and approved by the state government.

Such a move conflicts with a recent federal Coalition commitment to ACF that under the “proposed streamlining of approval processes under the EPBC [Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act], our intention is for uranium mining to be one area where the federal government would retain control and would not implement a bilateral approval process”.

“Uranium mining is an issue of national interest and importance and is rightly a matter for the active consideration of the national government,” said ACF’s Dave Sweeney.

“We welcome the federal Coalition’s re-affirmation of this and urge the Queensland government to stop trying to cut corners for this contested and contaminating industry.”

The Queensland plan has been released on the same day as market analysis by economic forecaster Morgan Stanley which shows the uranium price has slumped by nearly 50 percent since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, a continuing emergency that was directly fuelled by Australian uranium.

Uranium accounted for only 0.29 percent of Australian export revenue and less than 0.015 percent of national jobs in the decade to 2011.

“The Queensland environment and community deserves better than the inadequate and ill-considered plan,” Mr Sweeney said.

ACF’s report, Yellowcake Fever: exposing the uranium industry’s economic myths, uses official industry data to show that the uranium sector is a minor contributor to employment and the economy, a major source of domestic and international risks and is overdue for an independent inquiry into its effects on the environment, health, safety and security.

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