The ongoing failure of the Federal Government to address severe contamination from PFAS firefighting foam will be top of the agenda at a Parliamentary hearing in Williamtown today.
Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon, who sits on the Committee inquiring into the management of PFAS contamination in and around Defence bases, said Williamtown had borne the brunt of the Government’s inaction and neglect for too long.
“This is the third inquiry in as many years into the terrible contamination facing the Williamtown community, and the great tragedy is that we still lack any serious, coordinated response from the Turnbull Government,” Ms Claydon said.
“More than a year ago we were promised a plan to address the situation, but since then we haven’t heard a peep.”
Ms Claydon backed the Federal Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson’s call for immediate action to prevent further contamination leaching from the base into the water, soil and structures.
“It is really distressing to hear the level of anxiety that people are living with every day,” Ms Claydon said.
“People are feeling trapped in their own homes because they’re now worth nothing, but every day they stay living in the contamination zone they know they are potentially putting their health and that of their families at risk. That is a huge burden for families to carry.”
Ms Claydon said there are a large number of outstanding questions that she would like raise during today’s hearing including:
- Why do the chemicals continue to leach from the base three years on?
- Why is remediation not happening anywhere outside the base?
- Why haven’t the recommendations of the first inquiry been acted on?
- What plans does the Government have to provide residents with pathways to leave these contaminated properties if they choose to?
The schedule for the hearing is available at: https://www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore.ashx?hearingid=28395&submissions=false