November 11, 2017

LABOR Senators Malarndirri McCarthy and Warren Snowdon have written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to implore him to travel to Katherine to meet with residents affected by the PFAS saga.

“Katherine is the only place in Australia where the contaminated water was an ongoing drinking water supply for residents,” the Senators wrote. Many residents have asked if blood tests can be made available to them. During Estimate hearings senior public servants dismissed the role that blood tests could play in easing concerns.

“When asked, Chief Medical Officer Professor Murphy said ‘there is no proven value in doing blood tests’ and ‘the only concern would be creating unnecessary anxiety and concern in the community’.”

But while blood tests might not be able to help predict health outcomes, their provision would “seriously assist in reducing the stress and building concern among people in the community who have been drinking this water and giving it to their children,” they said.

“Blood tests coupled with counselling could have an immeasurable positive impact in Katherine.”

The Senators join a chorus of voices led by the town’s mayor Fay Miller, who said she was yet to hear from Mr Turnbull after writing to him three days ago.

Ms Miller said she wanted the Prime Minister to come to Katherine to meet with residents who had been exposed to high levels of the chemicals to see the “human side” of the PFAS saga.

While residents in other towns affected by PFAS contamination have been offered free blood tests, Katherine residents have not. 


NT News, 11 November 2017.