Paterson MP Meryl Swanson sees red over government inaction on Williamtown

Paterson MP Meryl Swanson
Paterson MP Meryl Swanson

FOR years now the federal and state governments have stood condemned as bureaucracy paralysed by inaction over the never-ending Williamtown contamination saga.

Now it appears that even when they do act, they are being crippled by an inability to get along.

Federal member for Paterson, Meryl Swanson, flew to Canberra on Wednesday for a meeting with Defence Minister, Marise Payne, and head of the perfluoroalkyl [PFAS] taskforce, Senator James McGrath.  

She walked away empty handed and furious at what she described as the Berejiklian and Turnbull governments’ “toxic dysfunction”.

At the centre of the issue is an almighty barney that has broken out between Defence and the NSW EPA.

It led to Defence being conspicuously absent from the Williamtown Community Reference Group briefing earilier this month where the EPA told residents the red zone had been expanded by 50 per cent, or 250 homes.

“I asked the minister why Defence wasn’t present at the Sunday briefing, to which Senator Payne replied: ‘We were not invited; actually, we were expressly informed that we were not invited’,” Ms Swanson said.

“The Turnbull government can’t get its act together to formulate a plan of action for the people of Williamtown, and the Berejiklian government appears to be at odds with the Federal Department of Defence.”

Languishing in the middle are the families living in the red zone. Ms Swanson said at the centre of the dispute was “malfunction” caused by a blame game.

”There’s accountability and action required from all levels of government,” she said. “They must work together.”