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Landmark PFAS Settlement Welcomed While Government Response To Inquiry Disappoints

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:

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Motion: No Confidence in Handling of PFAS Contamination

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

   (i) that the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade tabled its report on the Inquiry into the management of PFAS contamination in and around Defence bases in November 2018, to which the government response is overdue by a year,

   (ii) that in a resolution of 29 July 2019, the Senate called on the Government to provide a response to the aforementioned report,

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Motion: Narrabri Gas Project

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) Prime Minister Scott Morrison has signed off on a $2 billion deal with the New South Wales Government that would fast track the Narrabri Gas Project (NGP), which will extract gas from coal seams lying deep beneath the mighty Pilliga Forest,

   (ii) the NGP is fiercely opposed by local communities, farmers, and ecologists because it threatens the Pilliga Forest, the Great Artesian Basin, farmers' livelihoods, and food and water security, and

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Motion: Government response to PFAS report

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) the issue of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl 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 bases in Williamtown and Richmond in New South Wales, the Oakey Army Aviation Centre in Queensland, and RAAF Base Tindal at Katherine in the Northern Territory,

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Motion: Government response to PFAS report

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) the issue of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl 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 bases in Williamtown and Richmond in New South Wales, the Oakey Army Aviation Centre in Queensland, and RAAF Base Tindal at Katherine in the Northern Territory,

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Speech: PFAS Order for the Production of Documents

Communities around Australia are living with the toxic legacy of PFAS contamination in their water, in their soil, in and around their environment. People have already lost so much. They are at breaking point. The impacts have been financial, physical and mental. They are stressed and distressed at the lack of action. The government is really dragging its heels and it's extending the suffering of the people around Australia who are living around these sites. I think the lack of empathy the government is showing is really despicable.

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Motion: Seismic Testing

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) Asset Energy and their project partners are planning to conduct further seismic testing for gas off the coast of Newcastle and the Central Coast in New South Wales,

   (ii) the Environmental Plan for the seismic testing is currently being developed and, once submitted, the community will have only 28 days to respond to the regulator, and

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Motion: Australian Bushfires

I, and also on behalf of Senator Waters, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) states of emergency have been declared in New South Wales and Queensland due to catastrophic bushfire risk,

   (ii) lives have been lost, more than 150 homes have been destroyed, and almost 1,000,000 hectares of land in New South Wales have been razed since the start of this year's unprecedented bushfire season,

   (iii) in New South Wales, the Greater Sydney and Hunter areas are set to experience catastrophic fire conditions for the first time on record,

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Speech: PFAS-affected communities

I rise to take note of the government's continuing failure to front up to the PFAS affected communities that they have abandoned. Nearly a month ago, I told the Senate that every day the government delays responding to this report shows its contempt not only for the Senate but for the thousands of people who have lived with contamination of their land and their water, caused by the government. Here we are again, nearly a year since the Senate report into PFAS contamination was tabled in this place, and there has been no response whatsoever from the government.

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