Katter’s uranium call: ‘Premier, get over the past’

Mar 29, 2023

Queensland is missing out on billions of dollars in mining activity due to the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s ideological opposition to opening up the State’s uranium industry.

Dated estimates from the Queensland Resources Council place this value at $10 billion but with global demand for uranium rising faster than the rate of supply, this figure is now likely much higher.

Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter used Question Time in the Queensland Parliament this morning to ask the Premier if she would consider her opposition to the industry in light of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s AUKUS nuclear sub deal.

“Earlier this month, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese promised the AUKUS pact on nuclear-powered submarines would deliver a significant injection of jobs for Australia – given this pledge, can the Premier outline her plans to ensure that the State she leads benefits from this opportunity, and that these subs are powered by Queensland uranium?” Mr Katter asked.

In her response, the Premier said while she supported mining expansion across the North West Minerals Province, she and her Government were opposed to uranium mining.

North West Queensland has the State’s richest reserves of uranium, with the Mary Kathleen site west of Cloncurry historically having supplied millions of tonnes of uranium ore from the 1950s-80s.

Mr Katter said he could not reconcile Queensland Labor’s position on uranium mining given the Labor Governments of the Northern Territory and South Australia allowed the resource to be mined and Federal Labor had green-lit the nuclear-powered subs deal.

He said he believed Queensland uranium should be used to power the PM’s eight AUKUS nuclear subs.

“The question for the Premier, and the State Labor Party, is if it’s good enough for the NT and SA – and now for the Prime Minister to endorse the use of uranium for defence purposes – then why isn’t it good enough for Queensland?” he asked.

“If you can’t support it, then please logically explain why because there are too many antiquated notions of safety, such as by invoking the history of Chernobyl, being used as a smokescreen to shut down discussion about uranium mining and also the development of a local nuclear power industry.

“A big portion of the younger generation, many of whom support decarbonisation, are now asking the questions as to why we are ignoring this elephant in the room and I don’t think fearmongering is going to cut it for too much longer.

“The Queensland Labor Party needs to get over the past and step into the 21st century on this.”

Currently, Australia supplies just 7.4 per cent of global uranium demand, despite holding a third of the all uranium reserves – the most of any single country in the world.