The Council Agenda of 8 February 2021 included an item to repeal the Nuclear Free Policy for the former Gosford LGA. Community members have raised questions about why this is a priority for the current Administrator and staff.
The report states that Policy “was first made by the former Gosford City Council in 1984. It was then reviewed and adopted seven times, most recently in July 2013.”
Policies in themselves are not binding however, they need to be considered in decision making. In this way, they are a “gatekeeper”. Although there are perhaps few, if any, locations in the former Gosford LGA that would be considered for nuclear energy—the policy also opposes transport of nuclear resources through the area, with some exceptions.
There are a number of power stations in the former Wyong LGA and Lake Macquarie that might be seen as opportunities for nuclear power.
It is unclear what the long term ambitions are for these sites. Previous sales of both Eraring and Vales Point Power Stations have highlighted current NSW Government financial mismanagement. The sale of Vales Point power station for $1m in 2015 has been controversial since it was revalued to $730m in 2017. In 2013, NSW taxpayers ended up $75 million out of pocket as a result of the sale of Eraring Power Station to Origin Energy.
It is well known that local Liberal party politician, Taylor Martin, has been advocating for nuclear power. This is in spite of the NSW Government’s Electricity Strategy (2019) stating that “both NSW and Commonwealth laws prohibit the development of nuclear power stations”.
The Climate Council’s website gives some reasons why nuclear power stations are not appropriate for Australia—and probably never will be.
It was pleasing that the Administrator rejected the proposal from staff to remove the policy, however, many are wondering why it appeared on the business paper at all.
8 February, 2021