Oz Resource Minister urges govt. to sell uranium to India as ’special case’

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CANBERRA - Australian Resource Minister Martin Ferguson has said that the Labor party needs to allow “flexibility and discretion” to its current uranium sales policy, so that the metallic chemical elements could be exported to India.

The Age quoted Ferguson as saying that he is not urging the Labor party to lift its ban on uranium exports to countries outside the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, but rather recognise that “India deserves special consideration.

“No one can suggest India is a rogue state. I think this is something the Labor Party has to think about: there should be some flexibility or discretion built into the national policy that enables Australia to handle the delicate situation of India while at the same time forcing full accountability in the use of uranium in civilian power plants,” Ferguson said.

“I accept that our refusal to export uranium is a major concern in an otherwise close strategic relationship between Australia and India,” he added.

His comments have come ahead of an expected move on Wednesday by the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) to pass a resolution supporting expansion of uranium mining and endorsing a debate about nuclear power, the paper said.

AWU national secretary Paul Howes has publicly supported nuclear energy. Former New South Wales Labor premier Bob Carr also gave his backing to Ferguson, saying that the party needs to debate the issue.

Ferguson’s emphatic support for uranium sales to India is deeply contentious in some quarters of the ALP, but his position is also supported in principle by senior members of the Gillard ministry on both sides of the factional divide, the paper added. (ANI)

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