The National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Act 2020 will allow the Minister to specify the site (from three shortlisted sites) for the creation of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility to permanently dispose of low level radioactive waste and temporarily store intermediate level radioactive waste. It will also start a Community Fund to provide for the community in which the facility will be located. The majority of Australia’s nuclear waste comes from nuclear medicine, not electricity generation.
Introducing the bill, the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Mr Keith Pitt MP, said ‘this bill signifies the government's commitment to improve the safety associated with radioactive waste storage and management in Australia.’ He also explained that the ‘community fund will contribute to sustainable health services, agricultural research and development, enhancements to local critical infrastructure and the further development of the local Aboriginal community economy in the host community.’
The opposition disagreed with the bill in the House of Representatives when it was passed in June 2020. However, after the government amended the bill in the Senate, the opposition lent its support to the bill.