Australians deserve to know exactly where the Morrison Government would build nuclear power plants under the intensifying Coalition campaign for Australia to develop a nuclear power industry.
In Question Time today, Energy Minister Angus Taylor said he had an "open mind" on the use of nuclear energy. Industry Minister Karen Andrews and several other MPs have made similar comments, while Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said nuclear power is “not not’’ on his agenda and Queensland MPs Keith Pitt and James McGrath have called for a parliamentary inquiry into the issue.
Earlier this week maverick National Barnaby Joyce ramped up the pressure for change by proposing authorities could get around public concerns about safety of nuclear energy by giving people free power if they could see a nuclear reactor from their home.
Nuclear energy is banned in Australia.
But with so many Coalition MPs now advocating its use, Australians deserve to know where the Government is headed on energy policy.
In particular, it should explain where nuclear power plants might be built, particularly since these facilities need to be sited near large bodies of water.
If Mr Morrison is open to using nuclear energy, would he be prepared to have a nuclear power plant built in the Sutherland Shire, in his own electorate?
Given her position, Ms Andrews should say whether she would welcome a nuclear power plant in her community on the Gold Coast.
With Mr Pitt and Senator McGrath advocating a parliamentary inquiry, they should say whether they would support construction of nuclear power plants in Queensland coastal towns like Townsville, Rockhampton, and Gladstone the Sunshine Coast.
The Coalition should also say whether they believe coastal centres in New South Wales, such Coffs Harbour, Wollongong, and Nowra, or Western Australian cities including Perth, Bunbury and Geraldton would make good sites for reactors.
The Coalition is struggling for an answer to six years of failure on energy policy. If it sees nuclear power as that answer, it should be more open with Australians about its intentions.
Research by the Parliamentary Library has confirmed there are literally dozens of sites around the nation where nuclear power plants could be constructed.
Just this week the Australian Nuclear Association called for construction of 20 nuclear energy plants and nominated potential sites including the Latrobe Valley, Albury and Whyalla.