Saturday, 19 July 2008

WA lunacy??

Paul Murray filed a report in The West Australian citing some differences within the labor party, differences between West Australia and South Australia and making some accusations regarding the Rudd government's real aim from the Garnaut report and recently released Green paper.

If you’re a Labor member standing on the east of that line [WA/SA border], you’re in a party that not only agrees with uranium mining, but is embarked on a campaign to become a major international player and says the energy source is part of the answer to the biggest problem in our future, climate change.

If you’re on the western side, you are in a Labor Party that refuses to permit uranium mining based on the ridiculous proposition that to do so would threaten our future because we would have to repatriate the radioactive waste, something even former ALP leader Kim Beazley thought was laughable.

“I’m quite happy for people to know that while I’m the Premier there’ll be no uranium mining and if I’m no longer the Premier then there may well be,” Mr Carpenter says.

Stopping companies in WA from mining uranium has no effect on the international nuclear industry. It just means that the lucrative contracts go to other suppliers. Such as South Australia.

In fact, SA Premier Mike Rann told the National Press Club on June 11 that, as a result, his State is set “to become the new Western Australia”.

“The scale of what is happening is truly quite staggering,” Mr Rann said. “We currently have around $25 billion worth of mining and energy projects at various stages of development.

“When my Government came to office, there were just four operating mines in SA. Now we have 10, with almost 30 more in various stages of planning and development.”

What Mr Rann politely demonstrated was how complacent WA’s rolling boom has made the Carpenter Government. Mr Rann sounded like a young Charlie Court, whose work keeps Mr Carpenter in a job.

“Since 2004, SA has risen from 36th place to fourth out of 68 international jurisdictions on the ranking of global mining potential compiled by Canada’s Fraser Institute, and is now ranked ahead of WA for the first time,” Mr Rann said.

“And at the core of the State’s booming resources sector is what will become the world’s greatest mine operated by BHP Billiton at Olympic Dam in the State’s north.”

Olympic Dam will become the globe’s biggest uranium mine, providing, according to Mr Rann, 20,000 jobs. But Mr Rann also paints his attitudes to uranium in much more compelling terms than just economic wealth. When he led the charge to drop Labor’s “no new mines” policy last year, he wrote to every one of the national conference delegates challenging them to provide an answer “to the number-one environmental challenge of global warming”. “We need to face the fact that the world must reduce its reliance on fossil fuels as well as recognise the right of less-developed countries to a higher standard of living,” Mr Rann said in his letter. “We cannot do both these things by relying solely on the traditional energy sources that are contributing to global warming. If we do not export Australia’s uranium, other countries with lower environmental and safety standards and weaker safeguards, will fill the gap.”

Since then, South Australia has turned into Australia’s uranium headquarters with the State’s resources minister visiting China in April to encourage interest in its deposits.
Murray goes on to suggest that the Green paper is "politically gutless" and does more to secure the coal industry's hold on Queensland and labor's victory in 2010 than it does to reduce real Australian emissions.

I hope emissions are brought under control, but there is little if any hard technical data to suggest they will be.

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