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Time for a discussion about nuclear power, says Littleproud

Politics

Australians might not be ready for nuclear power, but deputy Nationals leader David Littleproud thinks it’s a good idea.

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Nationals senator Sam McMahon is trying to overturn Australia’s nuclear power ban through changes to a bill aimed at streamlining environmental approvals.

While Littleproud supports the idea behind it, he doesn’t believe the public is ready.

“We need to have a mature, broad conversation with the public taking into account the new technologies that exist,” the agriculture minister told Sky News on Wednesday.

He said politicians needed to make the case for change to instil public confidence.

“At this juncture, I don’t think we can give them that confidence,” Littleproud said.

“But I think we shouldn’t steer away from the fact of trying and putting in their mind what are the possibilities.”

Senator McMahon has the support of upper house colleagues Matt Canavan and Susan McDonald in her nuclear push.

“The Northern Territory has almost a third of Australia’s low-cost uranium deposits and being able to use it in our own country would provide benefits to many communities,” the NT senator said.

“The only realistic way to bring down carbon emissions in our nation is to use our natural resources and move down a nuclear path.”

As is stands, the government is a vote short of getting its environmental approvals bill through the Senate.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s party intends to provide two of the three votes needed.

Centre Alliance senator Stirling Griff, and independents Rex Patrick and Jacqui Lambie, previously signalled their opposition to the changes.

They argued an independent watchdog and tougher environment standards were required before other changes could be considered.

Senator Lambie has also questioned why Australia doesn’t replace coal-fired power with nuclear to achieve emissions reduction goals.

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