April 29, 2018
MERYL SWANSON MP, MEMBER FOR PATERSON
GOVERNMENT MUST COME CLEAN ON PFAS ADVICE
Paterson MP Meryl Swanson is demanding that the Turnbull Government face up to the facts around PFAS exposure and publicly release its own Expert Panel’s advice.
In November 2017 the government convened its PFAS Expert Panel to advise on the potential health impacts associated with PFAS exposure and identify areas for priority research.
It was initially due to provide advice to Health Minister Greg Hunt by the end of February, 2018, on the understanding that information would be made publicly available.
“Once again the Turnbull Government and its ministers are displaying complete arrogance and a lack of respect for the people of Australia,” Ms Swanson said.
“As of tomorrow, the release of the expert panel’s advice will be a full 60 days late.”
The panel’s remit was to consider submissions from members of the public, other stakeholders, and the body of Australian and international scientific research.
Ms Swanson understands the panel’s advice has been provided to Minister Hunt but he has chosen to sit on the findings.
“The office of Minister Greg Hunt has not even had the courtesy to reply to email and telephone inquiries on the timeline regarding release of the panel’s advice,” Ms Swanson said.
“My constituents in Williamtown, Salt Ash and Fullerton Cove have already waited almost three years for the Government to take action on this matter. It is cruel and negligent to make these people wait one day longer to hear how their Government intends to fix its mess.
“I can only hope the Turnbull Government has decided to come good and will release the expert panel’s findings in conjunction with a support package during the upcoming Federal Budget.”
Ms Swanson raised the issue of PFAS during recent parliamentary speeches and invited Prime Minister Turnbull, his wife Lucy, and members of the Turnbull ministry to visit her electorate and hear first-hand about the lived experience of PFAS contamination.
She received letters from Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Minister for Rural Health, Bridget McKenzie, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, refusing her invitations. Senator James McGrath (Head of the PFAS Taskforce) referred his most-recent invitation to Senator Marise Payne (Minister for Defence), who did not reply. And Minister Hunt has not responded to any of Ms Swanson’s queries.
“How can we expect the Government to hold the Department of Defence to account when the Government itself shows blatant disregard for the deadlines it sets itself?” Ms Swanson asked.
Expert Health Panel for PFAS - Terms of Reference
The Terms of Reference for the Panel are:
- The Expert Health Panel will advise the Australian Government on the potential health impacts associated with PFAS exposure and identify priority areas for further research. To achieve its objective, the Expert Health Panel will:
- take into account the evidence available from both Australian and international scientific research into the potential human health effects of PFAS exposure; and
- consider the views of the public and other stakeholders through an invitation for public written submissions.
- It is expected that the Expert Health Panel will provide its advice to the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, in March 2018. The Expert Health Panel’s advice will be released publicly.
- The Expert Health Panel will also provide its advice on priority research areas to the National Health and Medical Research Council to inform their targeted call for research for the Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances – National Health Research Program.