Defence Facilities: Chemical Contamination

March 02, 2020

Along with many colleagues, I welcome the in-principle agreements reached in the class action over PFAS contamination in Williamtown, Katherine and Oakey. They are a win for these brave communities, and I thank my colleague the member for Paterson for sticking with her community throughout the long and torturous process. I hope this sets a precedent for people living in my electorate of Macquarie, who've been dealing with PFAS contamination from RAAF Base Richmond. Investigations found PFAS in soil, surface water, groundwater and produce both on and off site. There's a two by five kilometre plume of the chemical sitting in groundwater under the base with more than 25 water test sites showing PFAS levels above what's safe to drink. That includes Rickabys Creek and Bakers Lagoon. As a result, Alastair and Kellie-Ann McLaren organic Paddock to Plate beef business was stopped in its tracks. Nearby residents like Joanna Pickford have been told not to eat their chooks' eggs. People living in the immediate area have so far been refused government funded blood tests to see if they've accumulated PFAS. They want to be treated fairly. I note the statement by the government last week that this won't be the end of engagement. I call on them now to address the concerns of my community, who've been forced to live with a PFAS plume for many years, and it will be there for many years to come.