Nuclear Free WA was a CCWA campaign for 13 years - as of 2023, it is now an independent organisation working to continue the important work of protecting WA from uranium mining and nuclear related threats.
The new group - Nuclear Free WA - brings together a range of environmental groups, unions, faith groups, First Nations community members, and individuals who continue to unite over calls for a nuclear free Western Australia.
Over the past 13 years, the CCWA uranium free campaign has worked alongside like-minded organisations, government, unions and Traditional Owners to protect Western Australia’s natural environment from the dangers and destruction of uranium mining. This has included campaigns against mining proposals approved in the final days of the Barnett Government, with three of the four potential mining sites having been prevented from proceeding.
Nuclear Free WA will continue the campaign against Deep Yellow’s highly controversial Mulga Rock uranium mine proposal in the Goldfields and will continue to lobby the WA State Government to withdraw all approvals from expired uranium mining projects.
The organisation will also move to address new and emerging nuclear related issues, such as plans to station US nuclear submarines in the Cockburn Sound from 2023; with UK nuclear submarines to join them by 2027; and to prevent the acquisition of second-hand nuclear submarines by 2030. Operating nuclear submarines will require the creation of a nuclear waste dump – potentially here in Western Australia.
As part of CCWA’s ongoing commitment to the protection of Western Australia’s natural environment from uranium mining, the council will become a member of Nuclear Free WA. In turn, Nuclear Free WA will become the latest in CCWA’s network of nearly 100 member groups.
CCWA Executive Director, Joe Heffernan, said he looked forward to continuing this important work alongside the new organisation.
“CCWA is proud to have been a mainstay of this campaign for over a decade”, he said.
“Despite attempts by a succession of proponents, there is still no operational uranium mine here in WA. That is a reflection of the incredible work done by CCWA staff, members and Traditional Owners in partnership with the wider nuclear free movement in keeping our state safe from the serious environmental impacts of uranium mining.
“We recognise that other nuclear proliferation issues beyond uranium mining now require the attention and resources of a dedicated anti-nuclear organisation and we’re pleased to have been able to help in facilitating the formation of Nuclear Free WA.
“We look forward to continuing to assist and work alongside this new organisation.”
Nuclear Free WA Co-Convenor, Mia Pepper, said: “We’re so proud of the work that’s been done as part of the uranium free campaign at CCWA alongside First Nations communities, unions, health, faith and other environment groups. We’re proud to say there are no operating uranium mines in WA and that three out of four proposals cannot now proceed.
“There is still much work to be done to protect the Mulga Rock area from Deep Yellow’s uranium proposal which is allowed to proceed, despite opposition, poor economic conditions and having failed to truly substantially commence. We hope to convince the McGowan government to use its existing legal powers to fully withdraw expired uranium approvals and to use their long-standing anti-uranium policy to shut the door on uranium mining in WA for good.
“There is also significant and growing concern in the community about nuclear submarines being stationed in Cockburn Sound alongside the ongoing push for nuclear power and for WA to accept nuclear waste. These are all issues we will focus on in the coming months and years alongside advocating for the Australian government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons - a treaty which is now international law and the Albanese government has committed to sign.
“We look forward to working alongside CCWA as a valuable partner and member of Nuclear Free WA. Nuclear Free WA, at its inaugural meeting, acknowledged nuclear issues are not finite and that our organisation is needed to respond to the ongoing and ever-changing nuclear threats. The organisation committed to work with a focus on peace, collective action with a healthy dose of kindness.”