Nineteen groups, representing hundreds of thousands of West Australians, have signed a joint statement against uranium mining in WA – one of the largest such statements ever made.
The groups – which include trade unions, faith groups and conservation organisations – have expressed their support for the WA Nuclear Free Charter which calls on the WA government to remove any outstanding approvals for uranium mining at four sites across the state.
WA’s Labor government has a long-standing anti-uranium mining policy but has inherited four separate mining proposals which were given approvals under the previous Liberal government.
Of those four, only one – the Mulga Rock mine, north-east of Kalgoorlie – remains active, while Kintyre (north east of Newman); Yeelirrie (south west of Wiluna) and Wiluna (Lake Way and Lake Maitland just south of Wiluna) have stalled.
The Mulga Rock mine proposal, has attracted a great deal of controversy, having been given clearance to undertake damaging land clearing in an area of vital habitat for the endangered sandhill dunnart – a species only found in three small locations across Australia.
‘The Mulga Rock plan has advanced, despite West Australians’ rejection of uranium mining’, the charter states.
‘Mulga Rock offers little benefit but has big negative implications for our state – posing a direct threat to our workers, communities and environment.’
Signatories to the charter include UnionsWA and the WA branches of the Australian Manufacturers Workers Union, Electrical Trades Union, United Workers Union, State School Teachers Union, United Professional Firefighters Union and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, along with faith, health, and national and state environment organisations.
The charter describes uranium mining as ‘unwanted’, ‘uneconomic’ and a ‘damaging and underperforming sector that unnecessarily risks our unique environment’.
Mia Pepper from the Conservation Council of WA – one of the many conservation groups to have endorsed the charter – urged the state government to withdraw expired and deficient approvals for the four uranium mine proposals in WA.
“Consistently, the people of WA have said that they do not want uranium mining in their state.
“The current government, like many Labor governments before them, hold a strong clear position opposed to uranium mining because it puts workers, communities and the environment under threat. Now is the time to create lasting protections against uranium mining in WA by withdrawing outdated and deficient approvals.
“Uranium mining is different. It is radioactive, leaving behind long lasting wastes which pose an ongoing threat to public health and the environment.
“No uranium mine in Australia has ever been successfully and completely rehabilitated. The Ranger uranium mine in the NT is undergoing a $2.2 billion clean up, fortunately by a company with the money and resources to do so. In WA the one advancing uranium project - Mulga Rock - is being pushed by Deep Yellow a small and unproven company and we have no confidence they can do what bigger better resourced companies are failing to do.
"This government knows the risks, the costs and the legacy of this toxic trade which is why they have a strong anti-uranium policy. Along with unions, health, faith and environment groups we’re calling on the government to act now to put an end to uranium mining in WA."
The charter is open to new signatories. For more information visit: ccwa.org.au/nuclearfreewa.
SIGNATORIES TO THE WA URANIUM FREE CHARTER (AS OF 28 JULY 2022): Conservation Council of WA; Australian Conservation Foundation; The Wilderness Society; Greenpeace; Friends of the Earth Australia; Doctors for the Environment Australia; Medical Association for the Prevention of War; Uniting Church in Australia WA; Quakers Australia; West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance (Indigenous); Ban Uranium Mining Permanently Collective; Labor Environment Action Network; UnionsWA; Australian Manufacturers Workers Union WA; Electrical Trades Union WA; United Workers Unions WA; Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union; United Professional Firefighters Union; State School Teachers Union WA.
MEDIA INFORMATION: The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) is the state’s foremost non-profit, non-government conservation organisation representing more than 100 environmental organisations across Western Australia.
For more information, visit: ccwa.org.au.
CONTACT: For any enquiries relating to this release, please contact Robert Davies
08 9420 7291 / 0412 272 570 or by email, [email protected]