Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Former Queensland Premier visiting the Sunshine Coast.
Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Former Queensland Premier visiting the Sunshine Coast. Sunshine Coast Daily Archives - 21 June 1976

Caboolture was earmarked for Qld uranium plant by Joh

CABOOLTURE was earmarked for a potential uranium plant by the Joh Bjelke-Petersen Government, previously confidential cabinet documents have revealed.

The papers showed that a long-running, secretive investigation into a plant in Australia identified Caboolture as well as Ipswich as notional sites.

The Bjelke-Petersen Government had its vision for uranium exploration in Queensland in full swing in 1982, pitching its interest to be home of an east coast enrichment plant.

The details were revealed in 1982 cabinet minutes, released today under a 30-year disclosure rule.

The cabinet documents reveal the Federal Government in 1980 established the Uranium Enrichment Group of Australia - a group of four mining companies that agreed to undertake a feasibility study into a uranium industry in Australia.

The UEGA put a low priority on Queensland being the home to any plant.

The group submitted Queensland's chances for site selection might be diminished due to other numerous major developments in the state.

After the Bjelke-Petersen Government launched its own assessment on its position on a potential uranium enrichment plant, the group clarified its finding.

Queensland Mines and Energy Minister Ivan Gibbs reported to cabinet that the group had identified notional sites only in the Caboolture and Ipswich-Boonah areas.

Mr Gibbs argued a uranium enrichment plant would provide employment opportunities, greater export value and an incentive for further uranium exploration.

While the selection of a plant site would come down to the Commonwealth, Mr Gibbs argued Queensland should continue to press its claim for the establishment of the industry.

Almost eight months earlier, the Queensland Government had told the Commonwealth it wanted control over dealing with nuclear materials in its state.

In a submission to the Federal Government on the Atomic Energy Act 1953, the Queensland Government argued any new legislation should reflect the state's right to control the minerals.



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