Six months after the Coalition government announced a $55 million funding package to deal with contamination at Defence sites across Australia, including at Williamtown in New South Wales and Oakey in Queensland, details of the package remain unclear. The figures were released on Monday, in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook report.
Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon and Greens NSW MP Mehreen Faruqi have commented on uncertainty over funding package, and on the threat that PFAS chemicals pose to human health, plants and animals.
Senator Rhiannon said, “For another holiday break, many Williamtown residents are feeling powerless in the face of government inaction over results showing extraordinary levels of PFOS and PFOA.
“This is a national crisis and it bears the urgent attention of the federal government – we have said it many times before and we will keep saying it till meaningful action is taken. The Turnbull government’s response to the situation in Williamtown and across the country falls well short of what is needed.
“The Greens have said this since the full funding package was announced in June. Even NSW Liberal Ministers know it - back in May they admitted in parliament that the Turnbull government’s response is ‘by no means enough’ and that they are filling a void that Defence has so far left.
Greens NSW MP and spokesperson for the environment, Dr Mehreen Faruqi said, “We know these chemicals are persistent, they do not break down, and that they may pose unacceptable risks to human health, plants and animals.
“I have been contacted by community members who are worried for their health, for their environment and for their families.
“The Greens will do everything we can, at every level of government, to advocate for these communities and to ensure that state and federal agencies are doing everything necessary to clean up contaminated sites and mitigate potential harms to the environment.”