Greens want in on nuclear power debate
TUESDAY 9.45am: NSW Greens energy spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said "opposition to nuclear power is one of the foundation stones" of their party.
"Any debate on nuclear power should include the Greens, and I'd welcome the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with John Barilaro and Luke Foley," Mr Buckingham said.
"Nuclear power is an enormous risk that is not worth taking. We should learn the lessons from Fukushima and Chernobyl that nuclear power can be catastrophic. This is just another nutty, extreme idea from the National Party who is stuck in the wrong century pushing coal and nuclear and ignoring the massive renewable energy potential of Australia."
UPDATE 2pm: LISMORE mayor Isaac Smith has said he welcomed any debate on energy, following the news that NSW Labor leader Luke Foley had accepted a challenge by the NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro to engage in a debate nuclear power in NSW.
Mr Foley suggested a public forum in Lismore as the venue for the debate.
"I think we are a community that's very interested in energy... to have any debate here on energy is a fantastic idea," Cr Smith said.
Cr Smith said personally he doesn't "support nuclear power" and said with renewables becoming so cheap there's "a better way forward" but he welcomes the discussion to take place in the community.
UPDATE 12pm: LISMORE mayor Isaac Smith has welcomed the suggestion of a debate over nuclear power in NSW to be held in his city.
"I would welcome this debate being held in Lismore. We have the biggest uptake of solar in the country and leading..." Cr Smith tweeted.
I would welcome this debate being held in Lismore. We have the biggest uptake of solar in the country and leading... https://t.co/vsvTKdEDbQ— Isaac Smith (@LismoreTogether) June 5, 2017
MONDAY 9.25am: NSW Labor leader Luke Foley has accepted a challenge by the NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro to engage in a debate nuclear power in NSW - and has suggested a public forum in Lismore as a debate venue.
NSW Shadow Minister for the North Coast Walt Secord today released the June 1 letter from Mr Foley to Mr Barilaro accepting the challenge.
Mr Barilaro announced that the Nationals want to pursue nuclear power at its annual conference in Broken Hill last month.
At the Nationals' conference, Mr Barilaro said:
"It seems to me that political correctness and our obsession with minimising risk of a media backlash is also restricting our ability to talk about solutions because they will be unpopular with some sections of the community.
"If we allow this to continue, we will only become more risk-averse and less likely to look at solutions that might really benefit us in regional NSW.
"For example; we know we have a power crisis, that energy costs are crushing both businesses, farmers and families, yet we don't talk about nuclear energy - guaranteed power to millions, lower bills and next to no emissions."
In the letter, Mr Foley described nuclear power as "both risky and irresponsible" and said:
"While I most profoundly disagree that nuclear power is a serious option for our State, I accept your call for a debate and propose that we hold a public debate in Lismore to discuss the issues at stake.
"Lismore would be an appropriate location for such a debate as it is one of the most environmentally conscious communities in NSW.
"I profoundly disagree with your support for nuclear power as there is no secure solution to the problem of safely managing toxic radioactive waste that can be lethal for the next 500,000 years."
"Labor proposes that the debate would be moderated by an impartial local North Coast media identity with questions from the audience."
Mr Secord said the Nationals needed a mandate from the community on nuclear power and the community had a right to know about their plans.
"It is time the Nationals leader John Barilaro explained his position to the community and the North Coast would provide the perfect venue to do so," Mr Secord said.
"Sadly, there is a cloak of secrecy surrounding the decisions by the State Liberal-National Government and the community has a right to know about the government's intentions on nuclear power.
"I am also on the record expressing my concerns about nuclear power. In March 2012, I spoke against the Mining Legislation Amendment (Uranium Exploration) Bill 2012 when the Liberals and Nationals overturned Labor's long standing ban on uranium exploration in NSW.
"I believe that the North Coast views are clear. The community is against the expansion of nuclear power - and so is NSW Labor.
"Lismore would be a perfect location to debate this important issue. I look forward to helping to organise the debate between Mr Foley and Mr Barilaro."