THERE will likely be no blood testing offered to Katherine residents until the latest chemical contamination study is complete in a year’s time.
The NT Government said it “would welcome the earlier inclusion of Territorians” in national health and welfare programs being offered by the Department of Defence at some other contaminated miltary bases.
Voluntary blood testing was raised as an issue at meetings held by defence in Katherine late last year and also last month as a way of checking on personal exposure to the PFAS chemicals contained in firefighting foams once used at the Tindal RAAF Base.
Defence has told the Katherine Times it had not “received a formal request from the Northern Territory Government asking for a voluntary blood testing program for Katherine residents”.
“However, defence understands the NT Government has made a request for the Federal Health Department to consider conducting voluntary blood testing,” a department spokesman said.
The department any questions on blood testing to the Health Department, which has not yet responded to the Katherine Times.
The Federal Government has established a voluntary blood testing program for people that work or live, or have worked or lived, within other investigation areas near military bases at Williamtown and Oakey.
NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said she wrote to her federal counterpart in December calling for Territorians to be included in the national roll out of voluntary blood testing.
“The Territory Government has lobbied and will continue to lobby for Territorians at affected sites to be:
- • included in the national epidemiological study
- • given access to the counselling services being offered to residents around RAAF Base Williamstown in NSW and the Army Aviation Centre at Oakey in Queensland.
“The government has indicated that it will consider expanding these services and programs to affected areas in the NT once Defence has completed further investigations and the extent of contamination and exposure pathways are better understood,” Ms Fyles said.
“We support the detailed Defence investigations of these sites, but would welcome the earlier inclusion of Territorians in national health and welfare programs being offered in parts of QLD and NSW.
“As the Minister responsible for health I will continue to lobby my federal counterpart on behalf of Territorians living in affected areas.”