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Motion: Defence Facilities and Chemical Contamination

Tuesday 5 September

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (17:04): I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 454 standing in my name for today, relating to the contamination of Australia's Defence Force facilities, in the terms circulated in the chamber.

Leave granted.

Senator RHIANNON: I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate:

(a) notes that:

   (i) the 2016 Senate inquiry into contamination of Australia's Defence Force facilities and other Commonwealth, state and territory sites in Australia concluded that there were many points of failure in the Department of Defence's response to PFOS/PFOA contamination at the Williamtown RAAF Base,

   (ii) there are still residents in the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) mandated "Investigation Area" in Williamtown, known locally as the "Red Zone", who report relying on bottled water shipments from the Department of Defence, despite repeated requests to be connected to the reliable and uncontaminated town water supply,

   (iii) there is growing concern of reports of an extensive cancer cluster of up 49 cases, particularly around the area of Cabbage Tree Road, and

   (iv) many residents in Fullerton Cove, outside the current EPA- mandated "Investigation Area", have reported returning abnormally high results for PFOS/PFOA contaminants in their blood; and

(b) calls on:

   (i) the Federal Government to immediately release information on what actions and strategy its PFAS (poly-fluoroalkyl substances) Task Force have and are taking regarding property values in the Williamtown Investigation Area,

   (ii) the Federal Government to investigate the design of a voluntary buy-out scheme for affected properties,

   (iii) the Federal Government to urgently develop, make public and implement a plan to prevent further contamination and clean up existing contamination from the Williamtown RAAF Base, and

   (iv) the Department of Defence and NSW EPA to re-examine the current boundaries of the Williamtown "Investigation Area" and investigate reports of extensive contamination outside the current boundaries.

Question negatived.

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