Kate Washington labels state government’s treatment of Williamtown residents as ‘cruel’

Port Stephens MP Kate Washington has labelled the state government’s “permanent solution” to help residents in Williamtown as a cruel hoax. 

In 2019 at the state election, the NSW Government announced the Williamtown Special Activation Precinct (SAP) would provide a framework for PFAS remediation and property buybacks.

Originally the investigation area for the precinct was going to be 10,000 hectares, but residents have now been told it will extend nowhere near that big and be reduced to just 135 hectares. 

Kate Washington says only 10 per cent of properties most affected by PFAS will likely fall into the new boundaries.

In an update to local residents, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said: “The Precinct will be much smaller than originally anticipated, and will focus on the area around Newcastle Airport and Williamtown RAAF Base.”

“In reality it’s not positive, its not permanent and it’s nowhere near a solution for these residents,” said Kate Washington.

“In 2019 the Liberal Government promised residents an opportunity that their properties would be bought out as part of this special activation precinct process and the investigation area covered 10,000 hectares. We’ve learnt this week that area is now only 135 hectares. We will be lucky if a handful of residents are bought out as part of this process.”

“For six years now the residents living in that area have had their lives and their properties affected by PFAS. Through that time some of them signed up to a class action and some of them received a small amount of compensation in that process but a lot of residents have received nothing,”

“All residents have had no support to clean up PFAS pollution from their properties from wither the federal or state governments and in the lead up to the election they were promised an opportunity to get off their properties as a part of this process but that was just a cruel hoax, that was never going to be a solution for these residents.”

“The Liberals promised a ‘positive permanent solution for PFAS’, but in reality, this is not positive, it’s not permanent, and it’s nowhere near a solution.”

“The SAP was never going to solve the PFAS situation, so I will never understand why the Liberal Party made that promise. To be honest, I think these families’ lives were used by the Government for shameless electioneering because they had nothing else to say about the PFAS issue,” said Kate Washington.

“Labor promised a suite of policies to begin removing PFAS from the local drains, and all the Liberal Party could point to was the SAP.”

“Don’t get me wrong, the SAP itself presents a great opportunity for our community. I have supported it 100% because it should create local jobs, industry and help transform our local economy. But the Government lied to our community.  They tried to say this project would help local families affected by PFAS contamination. It won’t. It was never going to. This has been a cruel hoax, and I’m heartbroken for these local families.” 

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