Statement: Defence Facilities, Chemical Contamination

September 05, 2017

Ms SWANSON (Paterson) (13:45): I wish the Prime Minister would come to my electorate of Paterson. Monday marked a very memorable milestone in Paterson. It was two years since the people of the communities of Fullerton Cove, Williamtown and Salt Ash woke to a front-page story that said 'Don't drink the water, eat your vegetables or your eggs'—even fishing was banned. These people went to sleep in their homes and woke up in a red zone, a PFOS-tainted nightmare, and two years on the nightmare continues. The contaminant is still leaching from the RAAF base into surrounding communities.

Blood test results are revealing elevated levels, further outside the designated red zone. A Walkley award-winning piece of investigative journalism has uncovered 50 cases of cancer along one single stretch of Cabbage Tree Road. Our communities have tied red ribbons to their fences and letterboxes, and I'm wearing the red ribbon today to remind the Prime Minister of the Australian government's responsibility to help these people. I call on Senator James McGrath and the Prime Minister to make things right. If you two believe that the government should be accountable for its mistakes, please show your support: wear a red ribbon for the red zone, and put up a red ribbon at your place for the red zone. These people deserve our support and respect. I, again, urge the Prime Minister: please, Prime Minister, come to Williamtown.