SOME GOOD NEWS!
Several residents of Narangba met with Federal Opposition MPs & Senators on
Wednesday 16th May at Caboolture to express their concerns over the proposed nuclear
irradiation plant. Two local Councillors were also present.
Sen. Faulkner said he was concerned about the environmental aspects of this proposal
and was surprised Sen. Robert Hill had chosen to assess on Preliminary Documents only.
Hard work by Stephen Beckett (Candidate for Longman), Cheryl Kernot (Dickson) and
Sen. Nick Bolkus led to Kim Beazley contacting Premier Peter Beattie's office the day
before to clear a media release. Kim Beazley said Beattie's office appeared "pleased".
The Media Release was announced in the evening of May 16th and basically states
Federal Labor's position. Basically that is, that all applications, etc. on the Steritech
proposal should stop now and a full, open, thorough and independent Environmental
Impact Study be conducted. This would include full and open public consultation at every
Full transcript of the media release when available.
Although Kim Beazley said the need for irradiation was something that may require
further discussion (again, the medical products were mentioned), he felt that Narangba
was a totally inappropriate place for it. However, we don't want to force it into anyone
else's backyard either. He thought, if it was needed, it should be miles away from
anywhere. It was pointed out to him that the choice of Narangba was no accident – close
to the Port of Brisbane, the airport and a newly-upgraded Bruce Highway – also in the
midst of a very productive fruit and vegetable growing region.
Kim Beazley would not be drawn on the matter of food irradiation, although that is
probably a matter for the people of Australia to decide. Recently, Rachel Smith of the
Australian Consumer Association stated that 93% of people opposed food irradiation
when the moratorium was placed on it in the late 1980s. When this moratorium was lifted
in August 1999, were the public consulted? We know others did submit, including
Steritech. Public submissions may have been sought at that time, but then who was
looking at the ANZFA website in those days?
One of the best solutions to the food irradiation issue may be to encourage the next
government to place a BAN on FI – not a moratorium (which means that we'll do nothing
while we decide what to do and then we can lift it when we see fit). A ban that would
require public consultation, assent and consent before being lifted and which would
require Parliamentary debate before legislation allowed it to be reversed. Speak to your
local candidates for the Federal election & ask their views. Would they support such a
move? Would they be instrumental in introducing a bill and legislating towards such a
ban? The view that consumers could decide at the shelves is erroneous – the labelling
may well tell you nothing!
The ANZFA Amendment Bill - discussed by the Senate on 22nd May. This will change
the constitution of ANZFA to include more food industry representatives and only one
with "consumer expertise". These people are supposed to be in charge of our food safety
– it'd be like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank!
This may have a long way to go yet, so lobby your local MP, Candidate and Senator and
tell them you want the constitution of the ANZFA board to be representative of the
WHOLE community. Remember the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme when it was
headed by a drug company lobbyist?!
Is it only coincidence that the changes to ANZFA, the first application for food
irradiation and a new nuclear irradiation plant have all happened at the same time???