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Thursday, 10 November 2016
Page: 3516

Ms SWANSON (Paterson) (13:54): Today I advise that I have submitted notice of a motion to be debated in this House calling on the Turnbull government to immediately address the toxic PFAS contamination around RAAF bases in Australia. This week it was revealed that firefighting chemicals that have contaminated my community in Williamtown, New South Wales, and the Oakey community in Queensland have also contaminated 12 other bases throughout Australia.

The government has said investigations to determine the full extent of contamination in these communities will take 12 months. That is too long. Has this government learnt nothing from my community in Williamtown who have been living under this cloud for 14 months? My community is stressed and stranded. They are worried for their health, their families, their businesses and their futures. Their idyllic rural properties are devalued, not usable and not saleable. Blood testing is only just beginning after we have fought so hard for it. One farmer has told me that his PFAS blood level is sky-high at 150 parts per billion. That blood level, he explained, is what you might see in firefighters who use these chemicals every day and at least 10 times what you might see in the general population. What is he to do? What are these communities—my community, the communities around Australia—to do? This government must step up. This Prime Minister must not put my community and others through another Christmas of hell.