Doors to Parliament

24 June 2024


SENATOR TIM AYRES, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TRADE AND MANUFACTURING: In just a few days, Labor's $300 cost reductions for energy bills come into effect. But if Peter Dutton is elected Prime Minister in the election next year, it’ll take two decades before his costly and risky nuclear plan comes to fruition. In the 24 hours since poor old Ted O'Brien's train wreck interview yesterday, I worked through and came up with a couple of questions, in fact, 24 questions about Peter Dutton's costly and risky nuclear plan.


One, this is the fastest rollout of nuclear reactors at any time this century. We're not a country with nuclear capability. What is the credible plan to deliver it?


Two, if commercial, small nuclear reactors fail to materialise, will the sites in Western Australia and South Australia become large nuclear facilities?


Three, will the Independent Nuclear Coordinating Authority consider community opposition from communities that don't want nuclear power in their backyard?


Next question, what will the Independent Nuclear Coordinating Authority recommend if there is clear community opposition?


Where will the enriched uranium come from?


How will it be financed?


How much nuclear waste is estimated to be generated from each of these facilities?


How will the government deal with opposition from State Governments, none of whom want nuclear in their energy mix?


If a local government bans nuclear facilities in their area, how will this be ignored or overruled?


What will the coalition do with the existing facilities on the proposed sites?


What is the plan to consider natural disaster risk, particularly earthquake and flood risk?


When Australian rooftop solar is generating large amounts of electricity during the day, will the nuclear reactors be shut off, or will rooftop solar be shut off?


What proportion of the energy mix will be nuclear in 2050?


How many reactors will there be in total?


When will each reactor come online?


How much electricity will be generated by each of these reactors?


How many reactors will be on each side?


What is the plan for nuclear waste?


What is the water management plan at each of these sites, particularly where they provide water for communities or agriculture?


How is the government going to obtain the land for the proposed sites?


What is the plan for the energy system and the stock costs rising, particularly giving nuclear is the most expensive form of energy?


This Independent Nuclear Coordinating Authority makes a lot of decisions, all of them after the election. Is this just a device to hide the true cost and real impact of Peter Dutton's costly and risky nuclear plan?


And finally, what will the real impact be on household and industrial electricity bills when nuclear is clearly the most expensive form of power? And what will be the impact over the next few years if Peter Dutton and his costly, risky, uncosted nuclear plan actually comes to fruition?


These are basic questions, just in the 24 hours since that car crash interview about energy costs and the impact of the most expensive form of energy on our households, on industry, and in particular, on Australian manufacturing. Thank you.