Push for air­port re­port

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS -

FED­ERAL Greens Se­na­tor Rachel Siewart has writ­ten to chief ex­ec­u­tive of Airservices Aus­tralia Ja­son Harfield de­mand­ing an ex­act date for its re­port into lev­els of toxic chem­i­cal con­tam­i­na­tion at Perth Air­port.

Quot­ing from a re­port by the Fed­eral Se­nate Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on For­eign Af­fairs, De­fence and Trade, on per­flu­o­rooc­tane sul­fonate (PFOS) and per­flu­o­rooc­tanoic acid (PFOA) con­tam­i­na­tion at Wil­liamtown in NSW, Ms Siewart re­minded Mr Harfield of the stress suf­fered by the lo­cal com­mu­nity from a lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

She urged the de­part­ment to learn from pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ences and pro­vide “a suc­cinct and con­cise strat­egy in re­sponse to the con­tam­i­na­tion results that of­fers the best pos­si­ble out­come for af­fected com­mu­ni­ties and the en­vi­ron­ment”.

“On be­half of my con­stituents who live in ar­eas sur­round­ing Perth Air­port, I would like to ask for an ex­act The knowl­edge that soil and wa­ter sam­ples from Perth Air­port showed signs of con­tam­i­na­tion by toxic chem­i­cals first be­came pub­lic in Novem­ber last year.

Airservices Aus­tralia found ev­i­dence of con­tam­i­na­tion by per­flu­o­rooc­tane sul­fonate (PFOS) and per­flu­o­rooc­tanoic acid (PFOA), in­gre­di­ents in fire­fight­ing foam used at the air­port un­til 2010.

The chem­i­cals have been found at De­part­ment of De­fence sites and com­mer­cial air­ports across the na­tion.

Poor han­dling of con­tam­i­na­tion at RAAF Base Wil­liamtown in NSW trig­gered a Se­nate in­quiry into the in­ci­dent.

Farm land around the base was de­val­ued as it was con­sid­ered no longer vi­able and peo­ple were in­structed to drink bot­tled wa­ter and stay away from pro­duce, in­clud­ing fish, in the area.

Aus­tralian health au­thor­i­ties have no clear con­cen­sus on the con­se­quences of high level ex­po­sure to PFOS and PFOA, how­ever they have noted ad­verse af­fects oc­cur­ring in an­i­mals. date that we can expect the re­port on con­tam­i­na­tion lev­els to be pub­lished,” she wrote.

A spokes­woman for Airservices Aus­tralia said it had re­ceived a let­ter from Ms Siew­ert but was un­able to pro­vide an ex­act date on the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the re­port due to the po­ten­tial im­pact of cir­cum­stances be­yond its con­trol, such as lab­o­ra­tory avail­abil­ity.

“As we have com­mu­ni­cated pre­vi­ously, on com­ple­tion of the works the out­comes of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion will be shared with rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers and Com­mon­wealth and State reg­u­la­tors to de­ter­mine next steps, in­clud­ing any po­ten­tial broader com­mu­nity en­gage­ment,” she said.

Airservices Aus­tralia pre­vi­ously re­ported its find­ings would not be out un­til March or April.

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