MEDIA RELEASE: LABOR CALLS ON TURNBULL TO MEET WITH KATHERINE RESIDENTS

November 10, 2017

Federal Labor representatives call on the Prime Minister to meet with residents of Katherine on  PFAS contamination, as a matter of urgency.

More than a week ago, Katherine Town Council’s Mayor and CEO wrote to the Prime Minister requesting a meeting on PFAS contamination in the town.

The Prime Minister remains unresponsive and unconcerned. 

Labor has also written to the Prime Minister calling on him to meet with the Katherine Town Council and discuss the next steps in responding to PFAS contamination in Katherine.

Residents and the Town Council are asking for two things to address their anxieties about the contamination – blood tests and one central point of contact on PFAS.

Labor has repeatedly called for blood tests to help relieve the anxiety of hundreds of families.

The Prime Minister, Defence Minister and Health Minister have denied blood tests to the Katherine community while they wait for Defence’s epidemiological study. This means the Katherine community will be waiting for 12 months.

Labor has also repeatedly called for a one stop shop to ease residents’ concerns. It is no wonder people are becoming increasingly frustrated and anxious when they are told to go to the Department of Defence for some information, the Department of Health for other information and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet for still other information.

After an 18 month delay, an Expert Health Panel has finally been established that will provide advice to the Minister for Health in February 2018 on the potential health impacts associated with PFAS exposure and identify priority areas for further research.

The Turnbull Government is giving Katherine residents just over one more week to make a submission during the consultation process.

Why does the Katherine community need to wait?

Labor continues to call on the Turnbull Government to follow our policy and implement a nationally consistent, coordinated and clear management approach to PFAS.

Katherine residents deserve the same assistance provided to other communities affected by PFAS.

They don’t deserve to be ignored.