25 April 2023
Media release: Defence Strategic Review's Calls for East Coast Nuclear Powered Submarine Facility Puts Illawarra at Risk
Today’s Defence Strategic Review confirms highly contentious plans to put a nuclear submarine base on Australia’s east coast without formally identifying the site. This is a decision that the Albanese government has agreed to “in-principle” leaving the Illawarra at serious risk of being targeted for the nuclear facility.
It is clear that the powerful opposition from civil society, unions and the broader public in the Illawarra has forced the Albanese government to hold off announcing the site. However this political delay is deeply deceptive because Port Kembla remains the most likely site.
By refusing to confirm the exact location the Government is seeking to fool the people of the Illawarra and prevent more opposition to the AUKUS submarine deal until billions more have been spent and the project is officially too big to fail.
Australian Greens Senator and Defence Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“The Review confirms the East Coast for a nuclear-powered submarine facility but the government’s refusal to confirm its exact location treats the people of the Illawarra like mugs.
“Defence and the government have already indicated that Port Kembla is the preferred location for this facility. Putting off the confirmation of the exact location is essentially dishonest.
“The government needs to be honest with Australians, those living on the East Coast and especially the Illawarra community and inform them of where this facility will be located before they lock in spending billions of dollars on these subs.
“It is a political betrayal of the Illawarra to continue down a path that will likely target them with a nuclear-powered submarine facility, without ever asking for consent in the first place.
“The lack of openness from the government is a powerful indicator of how threatened they feel from the growing no-subs campaign in the Illawarra and should strengthen the resolve to keep up the fight,” Senator Shoebridge said.
Wollongong Greens Councillor Cath Blakey said:
“The federal government's AUKUS deal for floating nuclear reactors put Wollongong's nuclear-free commitment under threat. Wollongong has a long history as a nuclear-free city, and a peace city.
“There are grave concerns that the submarine base proposal creates commercial investment uncertainty at Port Kembla at a crucial time when the offshore wind platforms are undergoing scoping analysis. The exclusion zones around the nuclear submarine threaten the viability of offshore wind projects, by reducing their potential footprint.
“Port Kembla needs to be ruled out of the nuclear submarine base to secure the renewable energy industry the Illawarra so vitally needs,” Councillor Cath Blakey said.
Shoebridge - Alison Martin
Cath Blakey: 0420 618 617