Treasurer says waste advocates 'silent'
South Australia’s Treasurer says a “silent majority” want the state’s nuclear waste dump probe to continue.
The SA Government has announced it proposal for a high-level nuclear waste dump will now depend on the outcome of a referendum.
It will also require bipartisanship and approval from the Indigenous community where the dump is planned.
Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said South Australians want further discussion.
This is despite two thirds of a citizens' jury on the project rejecting the notion of storing waste “under any circumstances”.
The Government's own community consultation found 37 per cent were entirely against the idea, but 43 per cent were open to more discussion.
“There's a silent majority that want to talk about this a bit further,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“We saw that now in the United States with Donald Trump, we've seen what happens when the elites tell the people how to think.
“I think a referendum is a great way of having South Australians actually talk about this, but in the end we can't have a referendum without the consent of the Parliament.”
Premier Jay Weatherill has accused the opposition Liberal Party of holding back the nuclear debate by “engaging in a series of pathetic stunts” and questioning whether a referendum would be binding.
“Without bipartisanship, there is no way can meaningfully progress this discussion,” Mr Weatherill said.
“The Liberal Party wants to shut down this debate entirely, they think they know better than the South Australian people.
“We trust the South Australian people to make the right choices in the state's best interests.”
Meanwhile, the Opposition has questioned the royal commission's economic modelling, which found that a nuclear storage facility would bring a $257-billion windfall for the state over its decades of operating life.
An independent report provided to Parliament has described the modelling as optimistic.
“There are very significant questions and concerns being raised by these international experts, independent international experts, about the financial assumptions which underpin the project,” opposition spokesperson Rob Lucas said.
“They mirror the concerns, some of the concerns that we have expressed in the past.”