Media Statement: Statement regarding the Community Benefit Programme

12 December 2018

The following can be attributed to a spokesperson for the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science:

The department is committed to assisting communities who have nominated sites for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

The Community Benefit Programme (CBP) is designed to make up for potential disruption during the consultation period leading towards any decision on a preferred site.

The scheme has delivered tangible outcomes for the regions that are participating in the consultation process.

To date a total of 57 projects have received funding. Of the 47 that received funding in the last round, around 36 have still yet to be completed.

In terms of timing, the department can advise the following. As is on the public record, the original intention was to have:

  • Detailed consultation in the lead-up to a community ballot from 20 August 2018,
  • A voting period of around one month to the end of September 2018,
  • A decision on if any of the three SA sites should be progressed by the end of 2018, and
  • Rollout next year of a new $31 million Community Development Package, including a Community Skills and Development Program to strengthen the economic and skills base within the nearby communities.

As is also on the public record, the process is been postponed while a court case is underway, and we are not going to pre-empt the decision.

The community is at the centre of this process, and the government remains committed to decision-making that strongly accounts for community sentiment. We thank the communities for their patience.

There is a court process currently underway, and while there are no plans for additional Community Benefit Programme rounds at this stage, any request by the community for further funding would be considered after the outcome of this process is known.