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Senate puts deadline on Turnbull government’s response to Williamtown

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 7 Dec 2017

MEDIA RELEASE - 7 December 2017

Senate puts deadline on Turnbull government’s response to Williamtown

The Senate has called on the Turnbull government to explain how it will address financial impacts from the Williamtown contamination scandal by 5 February, 2018.

Commenting on the Greens/ALP motion, Greens Senator for NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon said it was time to give residents some certainty.

“At Tuesday’s public meeting, residents pleaded for answers from Department of Defence officials,” said Senator Rhiannon.

“Senator McGrath has previously said it would be ‘wrong’ to give a timeframe on a response.

“We’re pleased the Senate has disagreed with him and voted for the Greens motion.  The government has been asked to explain how it plans to deal with financial impacts on businesses and individuals.

“Considering residents are entering their third Christmas with this disaster, Senator McGrath’s response yesterday that the Turnbull government is still working on plans is just not good enough.

“The Greens will continue to work with the Member for Paterson, Meryl Swanson, to get justice for communities around Williamtown.

“I pay tribute to the residents groups who have fought so hard for their communities and we’ll continue discussions with them over the summer,” said Senator Rhiannon

Full motion:

NOTICE OF MOTION                                                                                                       5 December 2017

I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move that –

That the Senate –

  1. Notes that:
    1. The 2016 Senate inquiry into contamination of Australia's Defence Force facilities and other Commonwealth, state and territory sites in Australia concluded that there were many points of failure in the Department of Defence’s response to PFOS/PFOA contamination at RAAF Williamtown;
    2. On 19 November 2017, the NSW Environment Protection Authority announced that the investigation area adjacent to RAAF Williamtown, known as the “red zone”, had been expanded by 50%, drawing in a further 250 households; and
  2. Calls on the federal government to:
    1. Coordinate urgent action to stop the continued contamination around RAAF Williamtown;
    2. Extend and improve testing regimes for blood and the surrounding environment; and
    3. Explain what consideration has been given to understanding and addressing any financial impacts on affected businesses and individuals by 5 February, 2018.


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