Australian Greens Senator for NSW Dr Mehreen Faruqi has welcomed today’s news that class action participants have reached a settlement of $212.5 million with the government over PFAS contamination, though has labelled the recent government response to the federal PFAS inquiry as extremely disappointing.
Senator Faruqi said:
“This huge settlement is welcome news for residents who have pushed for the class action. It points to the serious loss experienced by affected communities, and will go some way to alleviating the damage.
“However, there are many who have been affected by PFAS contamination, who the government has left out in the cold.
“In light of the settlement, it’s extremely disappointing that in its long-awaited inquiry response, the government has refused to commit to even considering compensation for all affected property owners, including through possible buybacks.
“‘Polluter pays’ is a basic principle of environmental law and justice. The onus should not be on victims to fight for justice when their lives have been upended.
“The government says it supports resolution of legal claims “by agreement, not litigation, where appropriate”. Well, let’s see them come to the table.
“The nation-wide damage wrought by toxic PFAS chemicals has been extensive and people have suffered for too long.
“After residents have waited more than 15 months for the government response to the report, this document is lukewarm, non-committal, and in some aspects completely disrespectful.
“I will continue to work with the community and in parliament to keep this issue front and centre, until the government prioritises needs of the affected communities.”