The Australian Government has today announced a new $4 million funding program for the communities being considered for the site of the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.
Under the new Community Benefit Program, up to $2 million in grants will be given to each of the two communities considering the facility, around Kimba and Wallerberdina Station.
A range of projects and initiatives can meet the criteria for funding through the program, including local infrastructure upgrades, services, apprenticeships and mental health initiatives.
The new program arose from consultation with the communities about their economic and socio-economic needs. Flinders Ranges Council, District of Council of Kimba and the Outback Communities Authority, as well as the community consultative committees will be consulted on the draft guidelines for the new program shortly.
The new program builds upon the $5.76 million invested across 57 projects and initiatives in these communities since consultation on the proposed facility commenced in 2016.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the new funding responded to community feedback and reflected the delays in the site selection process.
“We recognise that the communities have engaged in debate in good faith and we remain committed to supporting them through the site selection process. This investment will support the communities as well as deliver projects and initiatives that can further diversify the local economies,” Minister Canavan said.
“The Commonwealth Government is a partner that listens and can be trusted. As I have always said, my commitment and connection to these communities will extend beyond the result of the upcoming vote and is not dependent on the result of that vote. The Flinders Ranges and Kimba are great country places that I have had the pleasure to get to know better through this process.
“We have been listening to the community and we are responding, particularly with respect to investing in services that support the wellbeing of people in these local communities.”
An additional $31 million will also be available through a Community Development Package for the community chosen to host the proposed facility.
When fully operational, the facility will generate more than $8 million in annual benefits to the local economy, including at least 45 local jobs across a range of disciplines.
The vast majority of Australia’s radioactive waste stream is linked to the production of nuclear medicines that, on average, one in two Australians will need in their lifetime. Radioactive waste is currently spread over more than 100 locations around Australia. International best practice is that it be consolidated into a single, safe and purpose-built facility.
The proposed facility will be built near a community that broadly supports it, as informed by ballots, submissions, business, neighbour and Traditional Owner surveys and direct feedback. The community ballot process plans to be concluded by the end of this year.
Details on how the local communities can apply for funding under the new program will be provided as soon as available at business.gov.au