Media Release - NEW ASSISTANT DEFENCE MINISTER MUST URGENTLY GET UP TO SPEED FOR RESIDENTS AFFECTED BY CONTAMINATION

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17 February 2016

I welcome the new Assistant Minister for Defence Michael McCormack’s commitment to make the contamination crisis at RAAF Base Williamtown a priority issue.

MICHAEL MCCORMACK: It’s got to be top of the priorities.

And his commitment to visit local residents:

MICHAEL MCCORMACK: Yes, I will have to get up there at some stage.

1233 ABC Newcastle, Interview, 16 February 2016

I have written to Mr McCormack urging him to make the contamination at Williamtown an immediate priority and asked to meet with him to outline the concerns of our community. I have also invited him to visit Newcastle to meet face-to-face with affected residents and businesses. I extended the invitation to include the Minister for Defence Marise Payne who is yet to visit Williamtown or meet with residents.

The Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee report into the matter described the contamination affecting the Williamtown community as a crisis and included a number of serious findings and recommendations.

Given that Minister Payne has refused to confirm when the Turnbull Government will respond to the Report, I have asked that Mr McCormack urge his Minister to make the Government’s response an immediate priority.

The community and business owners affected by this crisis continue to endure severe financial hardship and significant anxiety as so many questions remain unanswered. They are entitled to an immediate response from the Turnbull Government.

Regardless of who has the job title and responsibility for the matter, it is time for the Government to adequately respond to this crisis.

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Authorised by Sharon Claydon MP, 427 Hunter Street Newcastle