Australia’s uranium industry welcomes the Senate’s multi-party support for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) Amendment Bill 2017, which was passed without amendments and with near unanimous support in the Senate last night.

The legislation will enable Australia’s premier nuclear organisation to establish an innovation precinct adjacent to its Lucas Heights facility.

The industry acknowledges Industry Minister Senator Arthur Sinodinos’ strong advocacy for the bill and his dismissal of Greens fear-mongering when he said ‘no additional powers have been granted under this bill with regard to defence and national security; that is a furphy’.

The industry also appreciates the strong support provided by Labor’s shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr. 

Senator Carr called ANSTO ‘one of the jewels in the crown of the Australian innovation system’ and said it was ‘undervalued within this country’. 

Senator Carr confirmed that ‘legislation as currently formed is unduly restrictive on what ANSTO can do’. 

The industry looks forward to further potential reform removing undue restrictions on uranium and nuclear technology developments, reforms which will not compromise the nation’s strong environmental and non-proliferation safeguards objectives.

The industry appreciates Senator David Leyonhjelm’s support for the bill and his comment that Australia should ‘regulate rather than ban nuclear power’.  We agree this approach would give Australia a more agile, innovative and technology-neutral energy policy, which could ease rising power costs and contribute to reduced emissions in the future.

The bill passed the Senate without amendments supported by senators from the Liberal Party, the ALP, the Nationals, the Nick Xenophon Team, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, the Liberal Democratic Party, the Australian Conservatives and Senators Derryn Hinch, Jacqui Lambie and Lucy Gichuhi. 

Only the Greens opposed the Bill. Once again the Greens maintain their allergy to all things nuclear – despite the enormous benefits Australia generates from its nuclear research and medicine industry, and the jobs and export revenue and low emissions electricity produced abroad from its uranium exports.

Nuclear technology is a vital field of research and technology development for Australia and the world in the 21st century.

This was confirmed by the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission last year.

The passage of the ANSTO Amendment Bill 2017 through the Senate demonstrates Australia can look at sensible reforms to allow it to play a greater role in global uranium and nuclear industries.


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