MEDIA RELEASE: PFAS MANAGEMENT IN KATHERINE NOT TOP OF MIND FOR GOVERNMENT

May 07, 2017

The Katherine community has been left to question whether its concerns of PFAS exposure are being taken seriously - or being heard at all.

Yesterday’s reports show both alternate water and water tanks are yet to be supplied to residents in Katherine, where the Department of Defence’s sampling program found contamination at bore water sites.

In December the Northern Territory Government asked the Federal Health Minister for a voluntary blood test program to be rolled out for Katherine residents. The NT Government is yet to receive word from the Minister – or a response from anyone. Managing PFAS contamination in Katherine is clearly not top of mind for the Turnbull Government.

Even when asked directly for assistance, the government fails to act. While the Turnbull Government adopted most of Labor’s policy response to PFAS contamination, it’s failing in the policy’s execution.

Labor called for a taskforce of government agencies to coordinate a national response to PFAS contamination. While the government created a taskforce earlier this year, details on its strategy are scant and there is no evidence of action – just buck passing of responsibility.

Labor called for a program of voluntary blood tests to be rolled out in all communities affected by Defence’s use of PFAS.

The government offered blood tests at Williamtown and Oakey. The program is yet to roll out in any other community. When will the Turnbull Government act for all communities living near Defence Bases affected by PFAS?