THE HON MELISSA PRICE MP
MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
SENATOR THE HON DAVID FAWCETT
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR DEFENCE
SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA
3 December 2018
Release of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Report on its Inquiry into management of PFAS contamination in and around Defence bases
The Government today welcomed the release of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Report on its Inquiry into management of PFAS contamination in and around Defence bases.
While there is still no consistent evidence of human health impacts, The Government acknowledges that communities in areas where PFAS contamination has been detected are very concerned about how this may affect them. Their wellbeing is our focus and we will continue to work closely with them to provide advice and assistance as quickly as possible.
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The Government’s first priority is to support affected communities, and to reduce their exposure to PFAS, by working towards:
- Investigating and removing exposure pathways by providing alternative drinking water supplies and providing information about other potential exposure pathways;
- Removing the sources of contamination by stopping the use of products containing PFAS; and
- Preventing PFAS contamination from reaching people and water supplies, where possible, by undertaking remediation activities (e.g. filtering or treating contaminated water).
We are investing in closing the knowledge gaps on any potential health effects of PFAS, and developing estate remediation strategies, through funding research. This will help us provide the best possible advice and approaches to manage PFAS contamination.
The Government will carefully consider the Committee’s recommendations and provide a coordinated Whole-of-Australian-Government response, through the PFAS Taskforce in the Department of the Environment and Energy.
We thank the Committee for this report and all of those who contributed to the Committee’s deliberations.