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ACF warns Qld Govt it will fight uranium mining across state

THE Australian Conservation Foundation has warned the Queensland Government to expect campaign action to ramp up across the state, as it mobilises against a plan to restart uranium mining.

Premier Campbell Newman announced the change of policy on Monday following a cabinet meeting in Goondiwindi.

It has become a divisive topic with supporters and opponents ready to crusade for their sides.

ACF Nuclear Free campaigner Dave Sweeney said the prospect of uranium mining was always followed with vehement opposition.

"We will be actively working with environmental organisations, indigenous groups, church groups and trade unions to highlight the risk posed by Premier Campbell Newman's decision," Mr Sweeney said.

"(We will) instead put forward a vision of an energy future focused on renewables and not radiation."

Mr Sweeney attacked the Newman Government for backing down on a promise given not just before its election but in previous weeks promising uranium mining was not on the agenda.

The ACF campaigner said the decision had little credibility after Premier and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps explained how it followed a single two hour cabinet meeting.

Mr Sweeney said the horrors of the radiation-ravaged Fukushima was something to keep in mind.

It was also worth noting, he said, that Australian uranium was helping to fuel the plant when it was destroyed.

"There are massive health, economic and human impacts (in Fukushima), these are continuing things and are directly attributable to nuclear," he said.

"It is risky and contaminating from the first shovel to the last waste dump."

Australian Uranium Association spokesman Simon Clarke said uranium needed to be mined because it had a high value as a low carbon energy option.

"It's highly demanded for those countries that use it for climate friendly, high-density energy for electricity purposes," he said.

So what of the safety risks?

"Generally speaking, all industrial activities involving low-level toxicity material carry some risk and you make judgements on value and usefulness of the product against the risk as assessed in shipping and processing," he said.

Mr Clarke said Australia's safety and environmental record with uranium spoke for itself.

"It's been borne out of decisions from the state and federal governments repeatedly," he said.

"We're up there with the best in the world.

"As an association and an industry, we are keen to maintain that record."

Topics:  australian conservation foundation environment mining industry nuclear power queensland government radiation uranium


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