During the past several months the Queensland Government has come under intense pressure to overturn its long standing policy of no uranium mines in Queensland. Send a clear signal to Premier Beattie that our wild places should not be recklessly sacrificed to appease the voices of the pro uranium and pro nuclear lobby.
These are worrying times and we are seeking your help to send a clear signal to Premier Beattie that our wild places should not be recklessly sacrificed to appease the voices of the pro uranium and pro nuclear lobby.
The Uranium Push
In a bizarre twist, the Australian uranium and nuclear power lobby has enlisted growing community concern about the impacts of catastrophic climate change in its latest push to open a string of new uranium mines throughout Australia, including here in Queensland. So can uranium mining and nuclear power avert catastrophic climate change?
According to a recent report released by an alliance of conservation groups Nuclear Power: No solution to climate change, the answer is no. This report argues that the primary way to avert catastrophic climate change is a massive 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The report finds that even a doubling of global nuclear power output by 2050 would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5% whilst creating a string of new problems including the need to dispose of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of highly radioactive nuclear waste.
Finally, the report concludes that tripling the output of global nuclear power to replace other fossil fuels would exhaust the known global deposits of high grade uranium within 15-20 years. This information clearly runs counter to the views being promoted by pro uranium advocates that nuclear power provides a solution to climate change.
New Uranium mines for Queensland?
Here in Queensland, the primary push for new uranium mines is centred on the Valhalla uranium field near Mt Isa. Leases to mine this region are held by a company called Summit Resources Ltd. Other significant deposits are located west of Townsville and in the catchment of the Settlement Creek Wild River near the Northern Territory border.
At present the Queensland Government has a policy which bans the operation of uranium mines. However a powerful group of pro uranium advocates – including the Queensland Resources Council, the ALP member for Mt Isa (and former Mines Minister), Tony McGrady and the very influential boss of the Australian Workers Union, Bill Ludwig – have placed considerable pressure on Premier Beattie to overturn his Government’s ban on uranium mining.
Until recently, Premier Beattie has resisted the pro uranium mine group. However his justification for opposing new uranium mines – that they would economically compete with the state’s coal industry – is hardly encouraging. Given that the Premier has not once mentioned the environmental or public health issues associated with uranium mining and the nuclear cycle, it is perhaps not surprising that he has recently signalled a softening in his Government’s opposition to new uranium mines.
In a major change in policy direction, the Premier announced in early April 2006 that he would drop his Government’s opposition to uranium mines if this was supported at the Australian Labor Party National Conference in 2007. If you are opposed to the expansion of uranium mining into Queensland, please help us send a clear message to Premier Beattie and his Government. Tell the Premier you do not support uranium mining in Queensland and that you want him to uphold his existing policy that bans new uranium mines.