Farmer Len O'Connell says that when former Minister of Defence Marise Payne visited his Salt Ash property in May, 2017, she promised him good news. Two years and two ministers later, he is still waiting to hear it.
"They couldn't tell us what it was. They still haven't released it," he said. "None of them did anything."
The next minister responsible for the red zone, Christopher Pyne, travelled to Williamtown in December, last year, to unveil a $1 billion fighter jet precinct. He did not talk to the residents whose properties have been contaminated by the base.
The Liberal federal candidate for Port Stephens did not attend a pre-election community forum on the contaminant held earlier this year. And when Mr O'Connell attended Labor's announcement of their national PFAS policy, he said he felt like another promise had been broken.
"Meryl Swanson said she was going to do this, that the Labor party was going to do that. They had a meeting in Williamtown Hall to tell the residents of the red zone their PFAS policy. It was nothing. They were going to clean some drains," he said.
"We have PFAS in our blood. The two boys have got it," he said. "Our farm is contaminated. The soil is contaminated, the bore water is contaminated, the surface water is contaminated. What is cleaning drains going to do?"
At the time, Labor said promising $20 million to remove contaminated sediment from Williamtown's drains was a "step" towards remediation. The Department of Defence is in the process of removing contaminated soil and treating water from the RAAF base while trying to limit run-off, but no remediation has been performed outside the base.
With Scott Morrison's new-look cabinet officiated last week, residents of the red zone are now looking for solutions from the fourth minister, and fifth assistant minister, to preside over the Department of Defence since the community was warned of elevated levels of man-made toxins in the areas around the base three-and-a-half years ago.
Mr O'Connell says he'll "talk to anyone" about the issues affecting his property.
"The way things are going, we have no hope. We're stuck here," the 76-year-old said. "The new minister couldn't be any worse than the others."
"If we have to stop selling the cattle we can't get a pension, because we own the property, and we can't sell the property to get some money back in the bank," he said. "We can't even give it to our sons, because it's a contaminated site. They don't want it."
Mr O'Connell said his family were only surviving on the money they make from selling beef cattle, which his 42-year-old twin sons help him run on the Salt Ash property. Tests have found the twins have elevated levels of PFAS chemicals in their blood, like their father.
Mr O'Connell has publicly expressed concerns that the livestock he is selling could be contaminated by the firefighting chemical. There are currently no restrictions on PFAS levels in meat.
"We're in between a rock and a hard place. I don't think it's right. What we're producing isn't the clean, green image of Australian beef," he said.
President of Williamtown and Surrounds Resident Action Group, Cain Gorfine, said he hoped the appointment of the new Minister of Defence, Western Australian senator Linda Reynolds, would be an "opportunity for a reset on this issue".
He said the $50 million Defence had set aside to fight class actions raised by communities affected by PFAS would only benefit the government's legal teams.
"Community continues to be bewildered why mediation is not the preferred path so that people can get on with their lives," Mr Gorfine said.
Lindsay Clout, of Fullerton Cove, said the fact that Senator Reynolds had risen to the rank of brigadier in the Australian Army Reserve did not bode well.
"We need someone who will challenge the system," he said. "But the issue has gone beyond the Defence Minister. It sits squarely with the Prime Minister. We're not going away. There's no other option."
As the president of the nationwide Coalition Against PFAS, Mr Clout said the federal election result had "knocked the wind" out of a lot of the group's members.
"They were hanging their hopes on Labor taking government. The shadow minister came here and talked about things that needed to be done. That was a marked shift from the Liberal government," he said.
The changing faces in cabinet mirrored the changing faces the Department of Defence had sent to consult with residents of Williamtown, Mr Clout said.
"It's a revolving door process," he said.
Questions sent to the minister by the Newcastle Herald were answered by a spokesperson for the Department of Defence. The spokeswoman would not confirm whether Senator Reynolds planned to visit Williamtown.
She said the department's PFAS management and investigation program was a "key priority".
Investments made into the program included the operation of water treatment plants on site, the excavation of 6,350 cubic metres of contaminated soil, maintenance of drains to reduce PFAS migration offsite and the connection of the town's residents to water, she said.
"Defence is finalising the PFAS Management Area Plan which is expected to be released in the third quarter of 2019. The PMAP will outline activities that Defence will undertake to manage and reduce the risks of PFAS exposure for the Williamtown and surrounding community.
"An Ongoing Monitoring Plan is being prepared which outlines the sampling program that will be undertaken by Defence to monitor and track the PFAS contamination over the coming years."
Mr Clout said residents of the red zone would not be able to plan for their futures until government made a definitive decision on whether compensation would be provided to residents for the contamination of their properties.
"Until then, you get up every day and ask 'How can I fight this today?'"