Parties battle over uranium mining

26/08/2008 - 12:17

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

The state Labor Party has sought to capitalise on community concern over uranium mining, promising to introduce legislation banning the controversial practice if re-elected next month.

Parties battle over uranium mining

The state Labor Party has sought to capitalise on community concern over uranium mining, promising to introduce legislation banning the controversial practice if re-elected next month.

Premier Alan Carpenter has consistently opposed uranium mining, but until last week maintained there was no need for legislation.

Mr Carpenter said he had changed his mind after talking with groups opposed to uranium mining who convinced him of the need to enshrine the policy in law.

"Rather than it now be left to the whim or the will of the premier of the day, it should be subject to the parliament of Western Australia," Mr Carpenter told reporters.

"We will ban, by legislation, the mining of uranium in Western Australia and instead we will drive 100 per cent renewable energy production."

The premier was in the southern town of Albany, where he also announced Labor would invest $7 million in incentives for for renewable energy.

Opposition Leader Colin Barnett pounced on the premier's policy reversal.

"Is that backflip number eight? I've lost count," Mr Barnett told reporters.

The Liberals have promised to start exporting uranium if they win the September 6 election.

"Uranium is in demand around the world because it offers ... a prospect of affordable, reliable, clean energy," Mr Barnett said.

"How silly of us not to be part of that growth. How silly of us or how silly of Alan Carpenter to deny developing countries reliable electricity ... for health, education and potable water."

His comments were echoed by the Australian Uranium Association, which has identified eight major uranium-rich locations in WA.

The association's chief executive Michael Angwin said he was very disappointed, considering uranium exports could help fight climate change would inject $3.2 billion into the state economy.

"Our industry can take a long-term view of this," Mr Angwin said.

"If you provide the facts and information to people of goodwill, eventually they'll change their mind."

Independent MP Shelley Archer, who controls the balance of power in the upper house, says she would block the bill.

It means the government would have to wait until May when Ms Archer retires and new upper house MPs take their seats before the bill has any chances of succeeding.

Greens MP Giz Watson says she is pleased but wants to see the details of the legislation.

"I'm genuinely delighted," Ms Watson said.

"We would expect a water-tight law that would put this beyond doubt."

Mr Barnett today announced a Liberal government would cut taxes by $250 million over four years, most likely in stamp duty, payroll tax and land tax.

WA's Chamber of Commerce and Industry said they were "modest" tax cuts, well below the $300-400 million in cuts it wanted per year.

"We can have more substantial tax cuts, and we will look for that commitment from the Liberal Party if it is elected," CCI chief economist John Nicolaou said.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options