The vote gauging Kimba’s preparedness to host the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility has been delayed by an SA Supreme Court injunction on behalf of the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Group.
While this is a disappointment, Minister Canavan has announced a way will be found for Hawker and Kimba to have their say.
Most would be aware of my support for the project having first raised the possibility in 2015 and in the more than three years since, my view has not changed. Hosting this facility is a huge opportunity for a small community somewhere in Australia.
Since voluntary nominations of potential sites the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science has been available to Kimba and Hawker and they now have better knowledge about our medical and scientific nuclear industry than any other community in the nation.
Independent experts in every conceivable associated scientific field have visited Kimba as have leaders and farmers from communities hosting similar facilities in other parts of the world. The heads of ANSTO and ARPANSA have visited Kimba and more than 100 residents have been to Lucas Heights. This project would provide jobs, retain and strengthen population, facilitating other benefits particularly supporting a doctor, hospital and school numbers.
The estimated community benefits have proved to be conservative with the 45 permanent jobs, $31m Community Benefits Package and more than $75m construction utilising local businesses where possible, well beyond earlier estimates.
Associated advantages flowing from community infrastructure, agricultural co-operation and educational opportunities combine to present an opportunity to energise the community.
The closure of two Kimba businesses in August, are a portent of the future unless new industry can be found. Agriculture, will evolve, adapt and improve, but will require less people. While my views are well known, I have stayed out of the discussions to allow people to make up their own mind and I have focussed on maximising benefits and ensuring residents get to have their say.
It is important people are well informed on the science before making judgements. I am pleased members of Kimba and Hawker have engaged and are ready to make a determination.
Member for Grey