Parliament: Questions Kelly's Asked

Representation of Minorities in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Citizens’ Jury

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: You have been very sneaky. I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation a question regarding Indigenous participation on the second nuclear citizens’ jury.

Leave granted.

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: Following the release of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission report, the state government established an agency known as the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Agency, otherwise known as CARA, to engage South Australians on this issue. In addition, the government contracted the company known as democracyCo to conduct two of their infamous citizens’ juries on the subject. Following the report of the initial 50-person jury, a jury consisting of 350 South Australians was constituted to consider the question: under what circumstances, if any, could South Australia pursue the opportunity to store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries?

On its nuclear.yoursay.sa.gov.au website, the government proudly boasts the diversity of the expanded jury, indicating the jury composed 52 per cent of males, 48 per cent of females; there were 124 renters compared with 244 home owners on the jury; the jurors were of various ages; and 295 of the jurors live in Adelaide, whilst 73 live in regional South Australia. Surprisingly, one statistic that seems to be missing is the level of Indigenous participation. However, it now appears unsurprising, as the opposition has recently been advised that a mere two people of the 350-strong jury were actually Indigenous people.

My question to the minister is: why is there a mere 0.5 per cent—half of a per cent—Indigenous representation on the second nuclear citizens’ jury when Indigenous communities represent at least 2.3 per cent of the South Australian population, and does this mean the South Australian government just does not want to hear from the Indigenous communities of South Australia?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy): I thank the honourable member for his question, however the premise of his question is ridiculous: that we don’t want to hear the views of Indigenous South Australia. I completely and utterly reject that.

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order!

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I know that during the royal commission’s deliberations, and after the royal commission’s findings were handed down, there had been consultations with Aboriginal communities right across South Australia. From my own experience, I have had meetings with many Aboriginal individuals and with Aboriginal groups, and even this weekend I will be in regional South Australia talking to Aboriginal groups, where I am sure this issue will be raised, as it has been raised many times. The exact composition of the citizens’ jury—I am not aware of how they were selected, but to suggest that Indigenous South Australia don’t have access to putting their views forward is completely ridiculous.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: Supplementary question: which are the so-called minority groups represented on the jury, and do they include people with disabilities?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy): As I answered, I am happy to go away and see if there is an answer that can be brought back about how it was constituted or chosen for a citizens’ jury process.