Everything about the Prime Minister's taskforce and terms of reference and the tenor of his remarks in announcing his nuclear inquiry points to enrichment of uranium as the Prime Minister's real agenda, Australian Greens energy and climate change spokesperson Senator Christine Milne said today.
"The Prime Minister continually talked about mining and value-adding Australia's uranium, in the context of global nuclear fuel suppliers," Senator Milne said in Hobart.
"During his recent visit to the United States, Prime Minister Howard had talks in Washington with President Bush about the President's desire to set up new nuclear fuel supply centres around the world with a view to having these supply centres enrich uranium and lease it with an agreement to take back the spent fuel rods.
"It is clear that Prime Minister Howard wants to be part of George Bush's vision that will lead to an expansion of uranium mines, energy intensive enrichment plants and nuclear waste dumps in Australia.
"The Prime Minister is not serious about nuclear power stations around Australia as he knows that they are not economically viable without more than 50 per cent public subsidy.
"He's not serious about climate change as his inquiry touted to be in response to this issue will not examine a carbon tax or the merits of renewable energy in meeting Australia's greenhouse gas emissions challenge.
"He's not serious about energy security as long as he facilitates the export of Australia's natural gas, our major transitional fuel.
"The nuclear debate is a sideshow to the greatest challenge facing Australia and that is climate change. We need a national debate on how to achieve the 60 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 and to that end the Greens will move in the Senate next week for the full-blooded debate that the Prime Minister is intent on avoiding."
Contact: Katrina Willis 03 6234 4566 or 0437 587 562