Rev Steve Francis, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, says that he is very disappointed that the Western Australian Labor government will allow the four inherited uranium proposals to proceed. While Rev Francis welcomed the reintroduction of a ban on all future uranium mines, allowing the existing proposals to proceed was still a matter of great concern.
“For a Labor government to allow uranium mining to proceed while it maintains a moral and ethical opposition to the approval of new uranium proposals is, in our view, a hollow moral position.”
The Uniting Church in Australia is committed to the development of environmentally benign, renewable energy sources and the cessation of uranium mining. Recognising the complexity of the issues the Uniting Church has called on individuals, churches, industry and governments to work together to end involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle.
The Uniting Church Western Australia has repeatedly expressed its concerns about the four uranium proposals due to the potentially significant and long-lasting impacts on the environment, nearby communities, and the workforce which would be involved in its extraction, transportation and processing. Furthermore, the unavoidable contribution of uranium mining to the nuclear fuel cycle, including the proliferation of nuclear weapons, remains an issue of great concern to the Uniting Church.
In 2014 the General Council of the Uniting Church Western Australia agreed to call on the Federal and WA State Governments to ban the production, deployment, transfer and use of nuclear energy and weapons and reintroduce the uranium mining ban in Western Australia.
The Uniting Church, nationally and in Western Australia, continues to hold deep and abiding concerns about the social and environmental costs of the nuclear fuel cycle, including concerns regarding the pressures placed on Aboriginal communities to accept uranium mining, the safe disposal of industry waste, the safety of nuclear reactors and the economics of nuclear power.
Rev Francis stated, “If the Government’s concerns about uranium mining are such that it will not approve new uranium mine proposals, it would be inconsistent to allow any mine to proceed regardless of any approvals previously granted.”
The Uniting Church in Australia is an active member of the World Council of Churches (WCC), which released its statement Towards a Nuclear Free World on 7 July 2014.