MEDIA RELEASE - ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS AT WILLIAMTOWN MUST BE A PRIORITY FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

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23 September 2015

Sharon Claydon has today urged the Federal Environment Minister to accelerate the Government’s response to dealing with contaminants at RAAF Base Williamtown and surrounding areas as a matter of urgency.

The contaminants, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), are components of firefighting foam which was used at RAAF Base Williamtown and other Defence Force and fire service bases around Australia for decades.

“I have kept the Federal Minister for the Environment informed of the situation at Williamtown and shared our community concerns regarding the potential environmental and health ramifications of contamination by these chemicals,” Ms Claydon said.

“The Minister has advised that the Department of the Environment is currently working towards the development of an interim policy framework for managing PFOS and PFOA contamination within Commonwealth Sites.”

“I understand that the Department is also undertaking analysis to inform the Government’s decision on whether or not to ratify the listing of PFOS under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.”

“Regretfully the Government does not expect to release their analysis for public comment until the end of the year.”

“I strongly urge the Minister for the Environment to expedite both policy development and Australia’s consideration to ratify the listing of the chemicals under the Convention and to have the situation at Williamtown at the forefront of his decision-making for this important work,” Ms Claydon said.

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Authorised by Sharon Claydon MP, 427 Hunter Street Newcastle