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Senate Calls on Government to Release PFAS Contamination Response

Australian Greens Senator for NSW, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has welcomed the Senate passing her motion calling on the Federal Government to release its response to the Senate Inquiry into PFAS.

It has been more than seven months since the Senate Inquiry into PFAS contamination handed down its report, recommending that the Federal Government appoint a Coordinator-General to coordinate the national response to the PFAS contamination issue, undertake measures to improve participation in the voluntary blood testing program for PFAS, and assist property owners and businesses in the affected areas for demonstrated, quantifiable financial losses associated with PFAS contamination, including the possibility of buybacks.

Senator Faruqi, who sat on the inquiry and is an environmental engineer, said: 

“When the inquiry into PFAS contamination handed down its report in Parliament almost seven months ago, I urged the Government to take concrete action and not leave communities hanging for many months. It's really disappoints that they have not swiftly responded to this important matter. 

“This is an extremely serious issue that affects thousands of people across the country, including in my home state of NSW around the Williamtown RAAF base. 

“This issue has caused significant mental, emotional and financial stress for people and it is simply not fair. The Government needs to stop stringing them along and show them the respect they deserve.

“More than 3 years after the contamination was publicly revealed, the Federal government is no closer to resolving this issue and allowing people closure. They must urgently release their response,” she concluded. 

The Motion:

I give notice that on the next day of sitting, I shall move—That the Senate:

1. Note that:
 
a.     The issue of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination has caused significant mental, emotional and financial stress for communities where PFAS have contaminated  land and water, including the communities around the RAAF base in Williamtown in New South Wales, the Oakey Army Aviation Centre in Queensland and RAAF Base Tindal at Katherine in the Northern Territory.
b.     It has been more 7 months since the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade tabled its report into the management of PFAS contamination in and around Defence bases and the Government has still not issued its response.
c.      Communities are waiting anxiously on the Government’s response to the key recommendations of the Committee, such as, the Federal Government appoint a Coordinator-General to coordinate the national response to the PFAS contamination issue, undertake measures to improve participation in the voluntary blood testing program for PFAS, and assist property owners and businesses in affected areas for demonstrated, quantifiable financial losses associated with PFAS contamination, including the possibility of buybacks.
 
2.     Calls on the Federal Government to release its response to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade report into management of PFAS contamination in and around Defence bases.

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