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After 300 days, Payne visits Williamtown to pass the buck

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 22 Jun 2016

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon and Greens candidate for Paterson John Brown have commented on Defence Minister’s visit to Williamtown yesterday. 

Senator Rhiannon said, “Almost three hundred days after Williamtown residents and workers had their lives turned upside down by the RAAF contamination crisis, Minister Payne decided to front up to them at Williamtown. 

“It is very hard not to see this as a cynical box-ticking exercise eleven days out from the election. 

“The recommendations of the Senate inquiry into this issue were clear, they were comprehensive, and they were also handed down months ago. There is no acceptable reason for the Coalition to have been silent on this for so long. 

“Until the investigation areas are redrawn in light of new safe PFOS/PFOA levels from the US EPA the 'Red Zone' boundaries in Williamtown will continue to relegate some residents to a position where they are not offered help and support, and this is absurd. 

“While it is positive that the Coalition is finally acknowledging this is a national problem, $55 million nationwide will not actually go very far. 

“What the community desperately needs is a comprehensive compensation package, free blood testing, a national plan for remediation involving state and federal bodies and property buyback offers. 

John Brown said, “Residents affected by the toxic spill around the Williamtown RAAF base were totally unimpressed by the visit of Liberal Defence Minister Payne to the base yesterday. 

"I met with about 100 residents at a public meeting in Hexham last night and some of those had been at the meeting with Ms Payne earlier in the day. 

"Some were annoyed at Ms Payne's attitude, some were angry, some were frustrated but the general feeling was more of confusion.

"The residents just wondered why the heck she visited if she had nothing to say.

"But I was very happy to speak to the residents last night to assure them of the continuing support of the Greens, particularly from Senator Lee Rhiannon and second senate candidate Michael Osborne.

"We have a positive plan to support the residents through blood-tests and proper compensation.

"Every time I visit Williamtown and the surrounding areas I hear more and more horror stories about collapsing land values, health concerns and business and financial losses. The residents and workers need support – now.”

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