PFAS update – Katherine MLA

Defence updates Katherine residents on the PFAS contamination of the town.
Defence updates Katherine residents on the PFAS contamination of the town.

An update on the PFAS investigation by the Department of Defence from Katherine MLA Sandra Nelson who attended last night's meeting in Katherine.

Tonight , I joined residents at a Defence presentation of the Interim Human Health Risk Assessment report.

Confirmation was provided tonight that blood tests and social and emotional well-being support will be available to ALL of Katherine affected by PFAS.

It is hoped that provision of these services will commence in early 2018. Further details will be provided once plans have been finalised in regards to where residents can go for the blood tests. This will be coordinated  by NT Primary Health Network (NTPHN).

It was announced tonight that preliminary testing of fish in the Katherine River showed levels of PFAS in the fish, and as a precautionary measure, the NT Department of Health will put up advisory signs warning people not to eat the fish caught in the Katherine River. 

Following that precautionary approach there will be signage erected to alert local residents to the presence of PFAS in the seafood and to recommend that they don't consume it.

The final report will be released in 2018, however , the Department of Defence felt that it was important to share the Interim results with the residents of Katherine.

Certainly the news of PFAS in the fish in the Katherine River was unexpected, and I am concerned of the impact that this will have for residents, and of course on tourism. 

I am also concerned for some of our aboriginal residents that fish every day in the Katherine River. I will work with the Katherine PFAS Community Consultation Committee to schedule community meetings at the 4 town camps to ensure that residents of the town camps are informed of the advisory about the fish in the Katherine River. 

I will be speaking further with the Department of Defence investigation team so that I have a good understanding of the results presented tonight, and following up with our Department of Health and NT PHN to ensure that residents are kept informed of when and where blood tests will be available.

If you have a bore on your property and would like to have it tested , please contact RAAF Base PFAS Investigation

Darwin Hotline: 1800 316 812 


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