As part of South Australia’s transformation away from traditional to new and high tech industries, the State Government is committed to fresh ideas and boldly exploring all possible future opportunities. During 2015 and 2016, this included a Royal Commission and subsequent state-wide engagement and consultation program about the State’s potential further involvement in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle.
On Thursday 19 March 2015, the State Government established the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission to consider the practical, economic and ethical issues raised by South Australia’s greater participation in the four areas of activity that form part of the nuclear fuel cycle - mining, enrichment, energy and storage.
In its investigations, the Royal Commission heard from 132 expert witnesses, including 41 international experts, over 37 sitting days. The Royal Commission’s Report provides all South Australians with a lot to think about.
Released to the public on Monday 9 May 2016, the Royal Commission Report provided 12 key recommendations which were the foundation for a community conversation about the possible expansion of South Australia’s activity within the Nuclear Fuel Cycle.
This heralded the beginning of the state’s largest community engagement program from May to November 2016, designed to consult with the South Australian community to ensure everyone was clear on the findings of the Royal Commission Report and could have an informed conversation about the state’s future.
The engagement program consisted of several key phases, including a Citizens' Jury, followed by an extensive state-wide consultation program visiting over 130 locations around South Australia, to allow communities to discuss and provide their feedback. The final stage was a larger Citizens' Jury to assess this feedback and identify 'under what circumstances, if any, could South Australia pursue the opportunity to store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries.'
On Tuesday 15 November 2016, the State Government delivered its response the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission report, supporting nine of its 12 recommendations. All feedback gathered through this extensive engagement program assisted the Government in its response.
Nuclear Fuel Cycle Consultation and Response Agency (CARA)
Following the release of the Royal Commission Report, Premier Jay Weatherill announced the establishment of two key bodies; the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Agency and the formation of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Advisory Board.
The purpose of the Agency, which drew upon existing government expertise and expertise from the Royal Commission itself, was to increase awareness of the Royal Commission’s report and facilitate the community consultation process.
The CARA Advisory Board
An independent Advisory Board oversaw all state-wide consultation activities throughout 2016, to ensure they were delivered in a comprehensive, appropriate and unbiased way.
The board was chaired by John Mansfield, Member of the Order of Australia, recently retired from his position as a Justice of the Federal Court of Australia. In addition to the Chair, the Board included:
- Parry Agius, former Chief Executive Officer of the South Australian Native Title Service;
- Professor Daniela Stehlik, Griffith University, one of Australia’s leading social scientists in the fields of sustainability, human services and social cohesion with a particular focus on families and communities.
- Professor Deb White, Deputy Cancer Theme Leader and Director of Cancer Research at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Adelaide.
- Dr Rebecca Huntley, social researcher and former Director of The Mind & Mood Report, Australia's longest running social trends report (*retired from Board, January 2017).