Letters to the editor - May 7

Letters to the editor - May 7

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Stock Journal readers were thinking about the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility and the Foreign Investment Review Board this week.

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NUCLEAR FACILITY REFLECTS WORLDWIDE BEST PRACTICE

I write in response to Margaret Beavis' letter ('No urgency to move waste'), published in the Stock Journal on February 27.

The National Radioactive Waste Management Facility will be for the disposal of low-level waste and temporary storage of intermediate-level waste.

This purpose-built facility will only be licensed to accept radioactive waste if it meets strict safety conditions set by Australia's nuclear regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, and is compliant with Australia's international obligations.

Dr Beavis refers to the experience in Finland, and it is important to note that Finland is building a deep geological repository for high-level waste. Australia does not produce high-level waste and this facility will not store high-level waste.

The move away from multiple storage sites is consistent with the international best practice for the long-term management of radioactive waste as recognised by ARPANSA.

The local community of Kimba has indicated that it is a community that broadly supports the project through community ballots, public submissions, business and neighbour surveys.

In the Kimba District Council community ballot, 61.6 per cent of voters supported the facility, and according to a neighbour survey, there is 100 per cent support for the facility from direct neighbours that share a boundary with the nominated site at Napandee.

To ensure the identified community can take economic and social advantage of the project, the government will implement a $31-million Community Development Package.

Finally, continuing access to nuclear medicine is dependent on Australia responsibly and safely managing the radioactive waste arising from its production in accordance with our international obligations and Australian regulatory requirements.

Kathleen O'Kane,

NRWMF Taskforce acting general manager.

INVESTMENT SCRUTINY MUST REMAIN POST-CORONAVIRUS

The coronavirus has seeped into every corner of our society.

The finance world has not escaped and huge value losses have been experienced.

As far as Australia is concerned, some commentators are predicting an onslaught from overseas investors wishing to buy Australian assets at bargain prices.

To stave off such happenings, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has planned changes to the Foreign Investment Review Board.

This is the board that must approve certain foreign investment before it can proceed.

There have been value thresholds below which the board need not be involved.

The new threshold will be $0, according to the Treasurer.

Unfortunately, he added that the new threshold would be temporary; inferring a return to old thresholds post-COVID-19.

They varied, with leniency granted to free trade agreement partners, which had levels of $1.192 billion for non-sensitive businesses and $275m for sensitive businesses.

Non-FTA partner countries had thresholds of $275m for all business acquisitions and $60m for agribusiness.

All have now been reduced to $0.

The Treasurer can be congratulated for his present concern, but it certainly does not contain enough 'teeth' to be effective.

It is not just thresholds that need attention - it is the criteria upon which the board assesses the proposal.

To consider whether a proposition is "in the interests of Australia" can be massaged to suit anything desired.

We should ask our Members of Parliament to stop the sell-off of Australia by changing the FIRB rules.

Ken Grundy,

Naracoorte.

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