All options still on the table for red zone residents including buy-backs

The first meeting of the community consultative committee into PFAS contamination around Williamtown was held yesterday.

Assistance Minister for Defence Matt Thistlethwaite was in the Hunter yesterday for the meeting which was held alongside residents living in the Red Zone, local MP’s, Port Stephens Council and one representative from the NSW Government. 

Residents in the Red Zone have been fighting for justice since September 2015 when the NSW Government revealed there were elevated levels of toxic PFAS chemicals in Williamtown and the surrounding areas. 

Minister Thistlethwaite said yesterday all options are still on the table.

“We’re looking at potential for rezoning of land in and around the base, we’re certainly working on the remediation of water in the base and surrounding and we’re looking to do another series of blood tests in the community early in the new year.

“There’s a long way to go and its very early on but I think there was a positive feeling at the completion of the meeting and we’ve pledged that we will come together again early in the new year to develop these plans more fully and hopefully develop a road map for the community’s concerns.”

He said buying back land is certainly an option that remains on the table.

“I’ve said that I want all options on the table as we work through these issues. We really do need representatives from the Department of Planning the NSW EPA to join us at the next meeting. We have to make some crucial decisions about what we do regarding the Special Activation Precinct the NSW Government is looking to establish and how wide and diverse that is and how we get rid of the brown water in that area.

“These will be regular meetings where we will come together and work on solutions,

“I think the best thing we can do is to make sure we’re bringing everyone together on a regular basis and we’ve also promised to communicate to locals through a newsletter that will outline what was discussed at the consultative meeting and where we’re heading on issues,” said Minister Thistlethwaite.

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