Government finally responds to PFAS inquiry

March 04, 2020

The whole of Government response to the report of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Inquiry into the management of Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in and around Defence bases.

It is unacceptable that it has taken the Morrison Government 16 months to respond to this report.

The communities that have been affected by PFAS contamination have consistently shown courage, strength and determination throughout this gruelling process, and the people that gave evidence during the inquiry deserved a prompt response. 

The Morrison Government should explain why it took sustained pressure from affected communities, and an in-principle agreement between the Department of Defence and the Class Action initiated by the PFAS contamination affected communities in Williamtown, Katherine and Oakey, to finally release its response.

While this response make assurances of actions taken, the lived experience of the effected communities falls short, as was evidential in this inquiry.

If the Government wants to restore trust and faith in PFAS communities, actions and the subsequent communication of these actions needs to be effective, timely and thorough.

Labor will look at every opportunity to form bipartisan approaches to this matter, but the government must ensure that it is using all resources at their disposal to find expeditious solutions for impacted communities.

Quotes from Senator Malarndirri McCarthy:

It is frustrating and disrespectful to all those Katherine residents who took the time to give evidence to the Senate Inquiry that the Government has taken 16 months to respond to the issues they raised.

The people of Katherine deserve to know that everything is being done to support them and finds solutions for their community.

Labor will keep up the pressure on behalf of the people of Katherine.

It’s disappointing the CLP isn’t also interested in calling the Morrison Government to account for the shameful way they have treated Katherine residents during this PFAS inquiry process.

WEDNESDAY 4 MARCH 2020

Authorised by Paul Erickson ALP Canberra