Rallies against NSW nuclear-submarine base: “Not here or anywhere else” 2023

More than a thousand individuals have congregated in the streets of Wollongong to protest the establishment of a local base for the nuclear-powered submarines that are central to the AUKUS agreement.

The former Morrison administration considered Port Kembla, Newcastle, and Brisbane as potential locations for a new east coast base.

Saturday at Port Kembla, members of the Australian Labor Party and union representatives joined members of Wollongong Against War and Nukes (WAWAN) to protest the proposed base.

Organizers of the event stated that they intend to “send a clear message that they do not want a nuclear submarine base here or anywhere else.”

Alexander Brown, a WAWAN member who has resided in the region for twenty years, stated that the establishment of such a base would impede the region’s transition into the renewable energy industry.

The grassroots activist estimated that approximately one thousand protesters will attend Saturday’s rally.

“This is pointless war mongering by Americans in the region,” he stated.

“We need a rapid transition to a renewable economy and peace in the region more than ever before.”

“We don’t want it here or anywhere else.”

Mr. Brown stated that the previous administration announced the site as a potential submarine base without “discussion, debate, or public consultation.”

“We were blindsided,” he stated.

The demonstration occurs on the same day that interim prime minister Richard Marles announced the formation of a new agency to oversee the nation’s nuclear program.

Mr. Marles stated that the new Australian Submarine Agency (ASA) would assure the “commitment” of the government to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

“The ASA will be accountable and responsible for delivering the ambitious program to acquire Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines,” he said.

“A specialized and dedicated regulator… will ensure the highest levels of nuclear safety and radiological protection throughout the entire life cycle of Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines.”

The rally was attended by both federal and state legislators, including Senator David Shoebridge of the NSW Greens, who told the audience that there is an excellent opportunity to construct a renewable energy hub in Port Kembla.

The march began at noon at the intersection of Wentworth Street and Darcy Road.

Following a strategic assessment last month, the Albanese government announced it would make a decision on an east coast base later this decade.

In addition to the three locations proposed by Scott Morrison for the submarine facility last year, the government has decided to consider additional locations for the base.

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