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Williamtown contamination: one year on

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 5 Sep 2016

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon will visit Williamtown to meet with residents today. The Senator will hold a press conference at Williamtown Hall at 11.30am. 

Senator Rhiannon said, “One year ago residents living in and around Williamtown found that their lives had been contaminated by toxic perfluorinated compounds from the Williamtown RAAF base. 

“Many found out in the media, and that really tells you a lot about how the Turnbull government and government agencies have handled the issue. They have been grievously passive, slow and negligent. 

“Almost 90 days ago the Coalition promised a $55 million funding package from the Defence budget for containment and remediation. I join the residents up here in wondering where exactly that money has gone, what the timeline for remediation is, what progress has been made on Lake Cochran and elsewhere. 

“The opaque way the Turnbull government is dealing with this mess is astounding. Residents do not want empty promises and bureaucratic language – they want clear, two-way consultation from the government, and they are entitled to it. 

“Compensation is still a glaring omission from any Coalition efforts to offer support, and yet it is the obligation of the government to provide support for months of lost income, business damage, property devaluations, health costs and other costs. 

“Toxic chemicals have leeched into their groundwater, property values have been decimated and the local commercial fishing industry put on hold. People have serious concerns for their health and their children’s health. 

“The Greens are not confident that the massive excavation works on the Williamtown RAAF base are not interfering with the ground water flow and mobilising contaminated materials there. We are calling for those works to be suspended until every precaution has been taken to ensure that Defence are not making a bad situation worse,” Senator Rhiannon said. 

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