Deadline on Govt PFAS response

KATHERINE MEET: Defence updated Katherine residents on their PFAS investigation this week.
KATHERINE MEET: Defence updated Katherine residents on their PFAS investigation this week.

The Senate has applied a deadline for the Federal Government’s response to PFAS contamination.

While the successful Greens/ALP motion this week specifically applied to Williamtown RAAF Base, it would set the policy for all base investigations, including the Tindal RAAF Base.

 The Senate has called on the government to explain how it will address financial impacts from the Williamtown contamination scandal by February 5.

Commenting on the Greens/ALP motion, Greens Senator for NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon said it was time to give residents some certainty.

“Senator James McGrath (the head of the Government’s PFAS taskforce) has previously said it would be ‘wrong’ to give a timeframe on a response.

“We’re pleased the Senate has disagreed with him and voted for the Greens motion.

The government has been asked to explain how it plans to deal with financial impacts on businesses and individuals.

Commenting on the motion, Senator McGrath said the government was implementing measures both on and off site at RAAF Williamtown.

He said defence had installed three water treatment plants at the base, treating over 820 million litres of ground and surface water.

“Defence is excavating sediment from open drains to reduce migration of PFAS in surface water.

“The government has extended blood testing participation in the epidemiological study and access to dedicated mental health services for those who live or work, or have lived or worked, in the management area, including those affected by its recent expansion.

“The PFAS task force coordinated by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is leading the whole-of-government response and is considering potential options to assist affected communities, including at Williamtown.”