> Kim C Beazley
> Leader of The Opposition
> Parliament House
> Canberra ACT 2600
> SENATOR NICK BOLKUS JENNY MACKLIN MP
> SHADOW MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH
> 16 May 2001
> Labor calls for halt to Caboolture irradiation plant
> The Federal Labor Party today called for a halt to plans for the proposed
> new irradiation facility in Caboolture, pending a full environment
> assessment of the proposal.
> "Labor has two principal concerns about this project", Shadow Minister for
> the Environment, Senator Nick Bolkus said.
> "Firstly, the Howard Government has chosen the lowest form of environmental
> assessment for the nuclear facility. Secondly there is public unease
> surrounding the issue of large-scale irradiation plants and there has not
> been enough public debate.
> "Instead of ensuring a full Environmental Impact Statement on all aspects of
> the plant, the Federal Environment Minister, Senator Hill, has chosen the
> lowest level of environmental assessment under the federal Environment
> Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
> "Given the significant community concern about the facility, this is simply
> unacceptable. The Howard Government's approach fails to address public
> concern about the potential impacts of an irradiation facility.
> "Local residents want to know all the facts, how much radioactive material
> is involved, how it will be used, transported and stored and what
> arrangements have been made if there is an accident.
> "Steritech must publicly disclose whether its plans for this facility
> include food irradiation," Senator Bolkus said.
> Shadow Health Minister, Jenny Macklin said: "Labor will take a cautious
> approach and ensure that the rigorous assessment processes outlined under
> the ANZFA Standard on Irradiation of Food are applied on a case by case
> basis. This will include full public consultation and discussion of
> proposals, risk assessment and adequate labelling of irradiated foods."
> There is an ANZFA process underway on the Steritech proposal for food
> irradiation, which will not be complete until later this year. A decision on
> the plant should not occur until this public consultation is complete.