Lee Rhiannon slams government over Williamtown contamination silence

'Disgraceful': Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon.

'Disgraceful': Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon.

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon has slammed the Turnbull government for failing to respond to the Defence department’s investigation into firefighting contamination at 12 sites across the country, three weeks after it was released. 

She also used a motion in federal parliament on Wednesday to call for urgent consultation with workers who have been exposed to perfluorinated chemicals through contact with firefighting foams. 

“‘It is disgraceful, although not surprising, that this Government has still not commented on this report, released over three weeks ago,” she said. 

Senator Rhiannon called for urgent testing in Townsville, where sampling has been limited to the Defence base, even though it was one of the most contaminated sites.

It comes after Labor Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson tabled a motion in parliament earlier this week, calling on the Turnbull government to outline a timeline on when it would begin talks with residents about the buy-back of contaminated properties. 

In reply, Coalition MP John McVeigh revealed that the Turnbull government has directed that the taskforce coordinating its response be elevated into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

He also stated that the government was “on the record as considering the matter of property acquisition and compensation” now that environmental investigations have concluded. 

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