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Thursday, 31 May 2018
Page: 5159


Ms CLAYDON (Newcastle) (13:39): I welcome the establishment of the parliamentary inquiry into the government's management of PFAS contamination in and around Australia's defence bases. I'm pleased to say that I will serve on this inquiry, which will fully investigate the federal government's disgraceful response to the terrible situations facing communities contaminated by these highly toxic chemicals. The government could have agreed to this inquiry months ago, but I'm glad we have finally got there.

PFAS contamination deeply impacts so many people in the Newcastle and Hunter region, as we've been one of the worst-affected sites in the country and we're only 25 minutes away from the Newcastle CBD in Williamtown. We were first alerted to the contamination back in 2015, but three years later people continue to hurt, with an enormous number of issues remaining around health, property values, loss of income and livelihood. Three years is way too long to be left in limbo, not knowing either the long- or short-term health implications and not knowing how much longer your family has to withstand the financial hardship that has been imposed on you and your business.

This is a national investigation, but I will be doing all I can to ensure that the committee comes to Williamtown and hears our community's stories firsthand. I know that my colleague the member for Paterson has done much in this space previously. I hope this inquiry builds on that important work.