WA Labor sticks by uranium mining ban

Western Australia’s Labor Party remains divided with its federal counterpart, by confirming its uranium mining ban plan.

The WA Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Union (AMWU) Steve McCartney put forward a motion for the party to ban uranium mining regardless of how far through the process it is, if voted into power in 2013.

WA Labor leader Eric Ripper said he welcomes the party’s reaffirmed of its ban on uranium mining which has created issues with federal Labor and said voters will have appreciate its clear view on uranium mining.

"This is the last opportunity for the people of WA to close the door on uranium mining because if Colin Barnett is re-elected he will establish uranium mining," he told AAP.

McCartney said following the Fukushima nuclear plant he did not want WA’s uranium out of the ground, but WA secretary of the Australian Workers Union (AWU) Stephen Price said the decision could mean the government has to pay millions in compensation to mining companies.

"Should we win government at the next election it leaves the party in a very precarious situation," Mr Price told the conference.

"There’s going to be long, lengthy legal battle to seek compensation … with those operating mines that we will have to shut down."

Mr Ripper when the state election occurs in 2013, there would not be a uranium mine operating yet so issues about compensation were hypothetical.

Last month Federal Resource Minister Martin Ferguson labelled the policy "ridiculous and not sustainable" and said it would mean the state would miss out on funds for schools, education and roads, causing Ripper to counter that WA is different to the rest of the country and should be treated as such.

The uranium industry has slammed the ban, saying the state could lose more than $3 billion in economic growth and thousands of jobs if it was implemented.

The uranium industry has exploded with debate and controversy about the enrichment, export and safety of nuclear energy and whether it is economically and politically viable as an export or a power source for Australia.

Image: The ABC


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