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Greens stand with Oakey on Department of Defence contamination class action

Media Release
Larissa Waters 10 Nov 2016

The Australian Greens stand with the residents of Oakey as they move towards a class action against the Department of Defence over contamination from a nearby base.  

Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Queensland Senator Larissa Waters said

“The Department of Defence have failed time and time again to sufficiently address community anxiety about chemicals used at the base that have leached into soil and groundwater.

“This debacle at Oakey is all-too reminiscent of the ravages of invasive coal and gas mining on the Darling Downs and across Queensland.

“Time and time again, ordinary Australians and the land they love is sacrificed and left to suffer the consequences of reckless behaviour from governments or corporations.

“The Australian Greens and Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon have led the charge to establish a Senate inquiry into contamination at Defence bases around Australia, including Oakey in Queensland and Williamtown in New South Wales.

Background:

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) including perfluorooctane (per-floo-row-ok-tane) sulfonate (sul-fon-ate), known as PFOS, and perflourooctanoic (per-floo-row-ok-tan-oh-eek) acid, known as PFOA were used as active ingredients in fire-fighting foam during training exercises.

Fire-fighting foam was discharged during training exercises at Oakey Army Aviation Base between 1970-2005, and those chemicals and have since been found to have leached into nearby groundwater and soil.

Twelve sites where the firefighting foam was used were subject to Defence’s preliminary sampling program to determine the presence and concentration of these chemicals.

These chemicals were detected on or near all twelve sites including Oakey and Williamtown, and interim screening levels for PFAS were exceeded at three of the sites – the RAAF base in Townsville, the HMAS Creswell Jervis Bay Range Facility and HMAS Stirling (Garden Island) in Western Australia.

Media Contact for Senator Waters: Lauren Gillin 0419 626 725

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