In Senate Estimates today, questioning by the Australian Greens alerted the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) to potential toxic pollution of the Great Barrier Reef from runoff at the Townsville Air Force Base.
As reported by the ABC, former Director Environmental Impact Management, Australian Defence Force, Colin Trinder, says it is highly likely toxic firefighting foam has run off from the Townsville Air Force Base and onto the Great Barrier Reef.
Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon, who initiated the Williamtown contamination inquiry, has called on the Turnbull government to quickly act on all the recommendations including compensation, buy outs and health testing.
"Now the spotlight is on Defence Department's failure to quickly and responsibly deal with the contamination in and around Williamtown RAAF Base Defence Minister Marise Payne should move to immediately implement all recommendations," Senator Rhiannon said.
Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (16:12): I rise to speak on the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee report on contamination caused by firefighting foams at RAAF Base Williamtown and Australian Defence Force facilities. On behalf of the Greens, I moved for this inquiry and was pleased to get the support of the Senate. We moved to do that because of the rising concerns of residents at Williamtown, and many other people as well, that the Department of Defence was not being responsible in how it was responding.
Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (21:43): Margaret Henry, a wonderful community activist, sadly died in September last year. Margaret was a Newcastle transport and heritage advocate, a former Newcastle university history lecturer, a Greens councillor, an activist on big and small issues across five decades and a dedicated mother and grandmother.
Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (21:43): The New South Wales Premier, Mike Baird, is waging a war on trees-quite literally, a war on trees. It is extremely destructive, occasioning great hurt, and right now he is not stopping. In one suburb, Randwick, along Anzac Parade, 400 trees are being turned into woodchips. These are beautiful trees-trees that are habitat to an amazing array of birds, possums and an incredible number of insects. The biodiversity is considerable. Many of these trees are now being destroyed by 'Mike Baird's chainsaw massacre'.
Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (21:43): It is time to end the farce of 1 February, which is the Australian Electoral Commission political donation disclosure day. I am not blaming the AEC. It is the law that is an ass when it comes to how our political donations are disclosed. This is not a day of transparency; it is actually a day when we are reminded how urgently we need electoral funding reform.
Today's release of last years' political donations data shows disclosure is too slow and corporate donations too influential, say the Australian Greens.
"Integrity is shaping up to be a huge issue this election year. The Liberals are singling out one group in society, but refusing to look at their mates in the corporate sector and the bigger question of donations distorting our democracy," said Greens Leader Richard Di Natale.
Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon will question officials from the Department of Science and Industry at the February Senate Budget Estimates hearing on their latest serious mismanagement of the location for the proposed nuclear waste dump at Hill End.
"The Department has caused more distress and concern among local residents by giving an inaccurate location for the proposed dump and then taking more than eight weeks to publicly disclose the actual location they are targeting," Senator Rhiannon said.
Responding to today's report that monkeys are being experimented on in Australia, Greens animal welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has called for greater openness by the institutions involved and the government agencies that oversee the welfare of these animals.
"Research should not be secretive," Senator Rhiannon said.