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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 786 asked in the Legislative Council on 8 August 2019 by Hon Robin Scott

Minister responding: Hon W.J. Johnston
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 8 August 2019

NUCLEAR ENERGY

786. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the minister representing the Minister for Energy:

On Monday, the commonwealth government announced an inquiry into nuclear power. The commonwealth Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction said that we need to look at these alternative technologies and that is why we are doing this.

(1) Does the McGowan Labor government agree with the commonwealth energy minister that a conversation needs to happen regarding the viability of nuclear energy?

(2) In 2006, the then environment minister, Mark McGowan, said that the government of the day owns the power lines, and even if a privately funded nuclear plant were established, the government would block any power from entering the WA network. Does the current energy minister stand by Mr McGowan's comments?

(3) Can we not simply have a civilised conversation about nuclear power?

The PRESIDENT: Minister for Environment, I think the final part of that question might have been seeking an opinion. I am not sure that you need to answer that.

Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:

Thank you for your guidance, Madam President. I will provide an answer that has been provided to me by the minister in the other place, so I have an answer to the question.

I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question. The following information has been provided to me by the Minister for Energy.

(1) Yes. The government of Western Australia is not afraid of a genuine debate about the safety and environmental risks of high-cost nuclear energy.

(2) There has not been, and there is no expectation for there to be, an application to connect a privately owned high-cost nuclear power station to the Western Australian electricity network.

(3) It is still to be seen whether the advocates for high-cost nuclear power can have a civilised conversation about their plans.