15 April 2016
The Turnbull Government has finally responded to the inquiry into the firefighting foam contamination at RAAF Base Williamtown – ten weeks after the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee’s report was tabled.
Labor has been calling on the Government to respond and welcomes that some action has occurred, but the response fails to fully address the recommendations made by the Committee or answer the concerns of the Williamtown and surrounds communities.
Only four of the Committee’s eight recommendations have been agreed to and the Government has only provided an interim response to the three recommendations that relate to financial support for the community – including financial assistance, the voluntary acquisition of property and purchasing of fishing licenses.
Local fishers have been living without a real income through no fault of their own for nearly seven months and the Turnbull Government’s response to the inquiry simply tells them to keep waiting.
The Williamtown and surrounds communities continue to suffer great financial hardship and anxiety as their lives remain on hold for another ten weeks before the Government intends to respond fully to the recommendations.
The Turnbull Government must provide the Williamtown community with the certainty it deserves - a community that continues to suffer through no fault of its own.