Two key Katherine community leaders are making headlines this week after coming under criticism from the Federal Government.
The nation’s chief health officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, yesterday used a Senate Estimates hearing to criticise Gorge Health’s Dr P.J. Spafford.
And News Limited is reporting today Katherine Mayor Fay Miller had won an apology from Health Minister Greg Hunt for comments made during a meeting on PFAS in Canberra late last year.
Professor Murphy said Dr Spafford was creating “unnecessary community concern” by commenting publicly on blood test results for PFAS contamination.
Dr Spafford has told Katherine Times he was concerned about a lack of information about the possible harmful impacts of the PFAS contaminants.
Professor Murphy said he, and others in the department, were concerned Dr Spafford’s comments were “not based on the evidence”.
Senior departmental officers told the estimates hearing the detection of elevated readings in the blood of Katherine residents was not an indication their health was also at risk.
They repeated results from a recent report of there being no consistent evidence that PFAS causes harm.
Dr Spafford today returned fire saying: “Are they worried about the people or are they worried about the compensation?”
Katherine Mayor Fay Miller had complained about comments made by Mr Hunt during a meeting with a Katherine delegation in Canberra on December 6.
Mr Hunt has since apologised for swearing during the meeting, according to News Limited.
The Department of Defence will update Katherine on the investigation into PFAS contamination on Monday, June 18 at 5pm.
The Community Walk-in Session, at Knotts Crossing Resort, will give Katherine residents information from the investigation team, who will be discussing the progress of their research.
The Senate estimates hearing was told yesterday local doctors and community leaders would be offered more information about PFAS test results.
The hearing was told the chair of the expert health panel, Professor Nick Buckley, would also be travelling to Katherine to reassure residents.