Parliamentary Sub-Committee to raise questions over PFAS

The Jervis Bay Range which is near Wreck Bay Village and HMAS Creswell.
The Jervis Bay Range which is near Wreck Bay Village and HMAS Creswell.

A parliamentary committee will discuss the progress of the Commonwealth Government’s response to and management of PFAS contamination in Canberra on this Friday, September 14.

The PFAS Sub-Committee of the Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade is examining the management of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in and around Defence bases.

PFAS contamination has been detected in at least five sites across the Shoalhaven according to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) investigation program.

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The five locations listed on the investigation’s website include the Shoalhaven River, Currambene Creek, local Defence site HMAS Albatross and the Jervis Bay Range Facility and HMAS Creswell, as well as the Shoalhaven Rural Fire Service (RFS) training site at Nowra on Albatross Road.

Shoalhaven City Council also revealed the toxic chemicals have been found in small quantities at its sewage treatment works.

But Shoalhaven Water director Carmel Krogh said the discovery did not indicate a risk, especially to the Shoalhaven’s water supply.

Mrs Krogh said low levels of the chemicals were discovered in raw sewage during Shoalhaven Water testing.

Documents have also recently revealed the toxic firefighting chemicals from Jervis Bay Airfield had contaminated Mary Creek near the Wreck Bay village in Jervis Bay, where the water was used for swimming, drinking and fishing.

Authorities took four months to stop people using the contaminated waterway, documents released under freedom of information laws reveal.

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The Sub-Committee will meet with Scientific Organisations, Academics  and Government representatives at the public hearing on Friday in Canberra.

Chair of the Sub‑Committee Queensland MP Andrew Laming, said the sub-committee welcomed the opportunity to discuss how the Commonwealth is managing and coordinating responses from Commonwealth, state and territory and local governments to ensure the best outcomes for those communities affected by PFAS contamination.

The public hearing will be held from 8.30am to 1pm, in Committee Room 2R1, Parliament House, Canberra.

The program is available from the committee’s website: Inquiry into the management of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in and around Defence bases – Parliament of Australia.

This hearing will be streamed live at www.aph.gov.au/live.

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