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Risk to Reef of toxic firefighting foam raised in Senate Estimates

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 8 Feb 2016

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.

"The concerning health and environmental impacts of firefighting foam have been put on record through the recent Senate Inquiry I established into contamination at the Williamtown Airforce Base in New South Wales," NSW Greens Senator, Lee Rhiannon, said.

"The statement by a former Defence Force environment officer that this dangerous contamination could be occurring near Townsville on the doorstop of the Great Barrier Reef is alarming.

"It's worrying not only due to the potentially disastrous impacts on this precious World Heritage Area but also in terms of health risks for the local community.

"The federal Environment Minister needs to investigate urgently," Senator Rhiannon said.

In response to Senator Rhiannon's questions in Senate Estimates, the head of GBRMPA said he would contact relevant state and federal government experts about the situation.

Watch the Senate Estimates exchange here:

Contact: Brami Jegan 0433 054 712


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