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Media Release - Canberra PFAS Meeting - 14 December 2017

posted 22-Mar-2018

On 6 December 2017, Mayor Fay Miller of Katherine Town Council (KTC) was accompanied by Anthony Bartlett (a Katherine resident who lives near the RAAF Tindal Base) and Robert Jennings (KTC CEO) in a series of meetings at Parliament House, Canberra to advocate on behalf of our community with respect to PFAS issues.


The discussions focussed on ‘fixing the problem’ through a series of measures that relate to the human, environmental, economic and guardianship impacts as well as providing the Katherine township with a future again after the resulting stigma associated with PFAS.


We are pleased to say that the meeting with Senator Marise Payne along with Senator Scullion clearly demonstrated the leadership and responsibility of the Minister of Defence on the PFAS issue.  Whilst the journey to resolving the issues and rebuilding our future is still in its infancy, this foundational commitment to working together and the ongoing contact to achieve priority outcomes has been started.  


In other meetings, Senator Malarndirri McCarthy also demonstrated strong support by proposing a motion to the Senate to investigate the PFAS matter throughout Australia and the meeting with Warren Snowdon MP identified where additional backing could be gained.  The meeting with Minister Greg Hunt MP (Federal Minister for Health) confirmed the positive work that had been done by him to announce the blood testing and counselling. Questions and additional information were also sought across a range of issues and we look forward to hearing these responses.


In the Canberra meetings, the Katherine delegation put strong emphasis on the voice of the community and an integrated government approach, which is supported by the Katherine PFAS Community Consultative Group which involves community members and three tiers of government, including the on-ground Department of Defence officers.


We take this opportunity to thank our Northern Territory partners who are advocating strongly and working for the Katherine community, including Sandra Nelson MLA, numerous officers from the Department of the Chief Minister and other key officers from the NT Government in various Departments as well as Leader of the Opposition Gary Higgins who wrote a letter of support to the Federal Government on behalf of Katherine.


Whilst we are very clear that an ongoing demonstration of strategic planning, effective communication, sufficient funding and coordinated action will be required for some years into the future, Council are encouraged by these early signs of commitment.