NSW Government Wakes Up To PFAS Contamination

Port Stephens MP Kate Washington has welcomed the NSW Government’s new position regarding PFAS contamination in Williamtown.

Three years after the community of Williamtown, Salt Ash and Fullerton Cove were informed of the PFAS contamination in their water supply, the NSW Government has finally woken up to the importance of this issue and publically criticised the Federal Government’s handling of the contamination for the first time.

While the NSW Government has consistently labelled such public advocacy in the past as “playing politics”, they have now recognised that the community of Port Stephens desperately needs their Government to stand up for them.

The NSW Government has also challenged the Turnbull Government’s position on the health impacts of PFAS, as well as the Turnbull Government’s decision to not support buy outs of contaminated properties.

Each of these actions have long been called for by affected residents and their local community organisations, however the NSW Government has – until now – chosen to attack local Port Stephens MP Kate Washington at every opportunity before eventually adopting her pleas for support.

Disappointingly the NSW Government’s position continues to insist that only the Commonwealth can ban PFAS, despite both Queensland and South Australian Governments implementing a phase out and ban of the chemicals. NSW Labor has committed to banning PFAS in NSW.

Quotes attributable to Kate Washington MP, Member for Port Stephens

“The contamination became public three years ago, and only now has the NSW Government woken up to the profound impact it’s having on local residents.

“The NSW Government’s submission finally suggests they are starting to understand the enormity of the problem. At long last, they are putting pressure on the Prime Minister to take responsibility. But I have to say it’s taken a very long time and an awful lot of effort to finally get through to the State Government.

“The Berejiklian government should have done this years ago. They should have listened to local voices from the start, and they should have paid residents the respect they deserve. Had this occurred, we may have seen action from the Federal government sooner. We’re still waiting for Malcolm Turnbull to do the right thing, but until now we’ve been fighting on our own. Here’s hoping the Prime Minister listens and acts.”

Quotes attributable to Meryl Swanson MP, Federal Member for Paterson

“The NSW Government’s changed position on PFAS contamination in Williamtown is testament to the persistence and tenacity of my State colleague, Kate Washington. I welcome this news and stand in support of Kate.

“She and I have used every avenue possible to force the Berejiklian and Turnbull governments to address the plight of our constituents affected by contamination from RAAF Base Williamtown.

“I welcome news of the NSW Government’s new position and can only hope that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will listen to people within his own party demanding action.”

This item was distributed as a media release on Friday 13 July 2018.


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