Prime Minister’s Taskforce Head to come to Williamtown


Federal Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson met with Senator James McGrath
Federal Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson (left) and Senator James McGrath(right)

THE head of the Turnbull Government’s PFAS Taskforce has said he will meet with Williamtown residents on Wednesday 17 May.

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Federal Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson met with Senator James McGrath and he indicated the meeting would take place.

“I am heartened and encouraged by this, and I look forward to introducing the Senator to people in my community who are understandably angry and anxious about the contamination of their properties and their bodies with these chemicals that have leached from the RAAF base,” Ms Swanson said.

“The Budget included $26.5 million in health and research measures, which was good, but did not address the issues of economic loss; aside from saying it was a ‘liability’ for the government.”

Meryl Swanson said she was hoping Senator McGrath’s visit would expedite a solution for people who want to get out.

“To see Williamtown and PFAS in the budget is a minor victory, but much more should have been done,” Ms Swanson said.

In this budget we have $12.5 million to be spent over four years on a national research program into the health effects of PFAS, and another $14million across four years for health-related initiatives to support the communities in Williamtown and Oakey.

“Tucked away in ‘liabilities’ the budget mentions that there are ‘litigation cases’ and claims for compensation for loss, injury or damage arising from the Defence use of PFAS chemicals,” Ms Swanson said.

“But these are described as ‘unquantifiable’,” she added.

“So there is no actual money allocated for compensation for economic loss for people in Williamtown and Oakey in this Budget and the government has no idea how much money will be required.”

The NSW Valuer General has indicated that properties have been devalued by at least 15 percent.

“The time for talk is over. I am hoping Senator McGrath’s visit will expedite some action,” Ms Swanson said.


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