Australian Greens Senator for NSW, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has called on the Federal Government to urgently implement the recommendations of the Senate 'Inquiry into the management of PFAs contamination in and around Defence bases’ , which has called for compensation and a new Coordinator-General to coordinate the national response to the PFAS contamination issue.
Senator Faruqi was the Greens representative on the inquiry. The report can be found here.
Senator Faruqi said: "The Australian Greens welcome this report and although much more remains to be done, it is a really important step to resolving the long running and damaging issue of PFAS contamination. I want to thank and acknowledge community members across the country for their continued advocacy for the protection of our environment, the scarce water resources we have in Australia and the health of our people and communities.
"If the government cares about the community, if they care about our environment, they should urgently accept the recommendations of the report. They don’t have to wait for months to provide a response.
"The community has waited long enough. Communities have suffered enough. It’s time to take concrete action to help them. And it’s time concrete action is taken now.
"It should not have taken years of community campaigning for Defence to be accountable for the contamination it had created. The failure of Defence to take responsibility for this matter may have had significant health and social implications for communities. Consistent with the ‘polluter pays’ principle, Defence has an obligation for all costs associated with testing, containment, remediation, as well as compensation of affected people.
"It is worth remembering that this issue is not restricted to Defence properties. Other Federal Government properties as well as properties formerly owned by the Federal Government, such as airfields and former defence sites should be fully investigated by the Commonwealth Government and the same measures applied.
"I strongly encourage the Commonwealth Government to urgently develop a buyback program for properties where contamination is significant. The reality is that the effects of PFAS contamination are not known yet and we know that some properties will be significantly affected. There are no options but for compensation to include buyback," she concluded.