Scot MacDonald MLC
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter
1 OCTOBER 2015
WILLIAMTOWN CONTAMINATION COMMUNITY REFERENCE GROUP
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald MLC confirmed today the Williamtown Contamination Investigation Community Reference Group (CRG) has been established.
The CRG will support local communities to address concerns related to the detection of Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) in nearby surface water, groundwater and biota in the vicinity of the Williamtown RAAF base.
The CRG will provide the community with details of on-ground investigations and strategies for addressing the contamination being devised by the Williamtown Expert Panel, led by the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane.
“The primary aim is to provide clear community messages on progress and key strategy milestones, and ensure timely responses to stakeholder and community questions,” Mr MacDonald said.
“The CRG will enable effective input of community concerns into the Expert Panel priority process.”
The Reference Group will develop a response plan with specific actions, strategies, responsibilities and milestones in working towards an understanding of community and industry risk.
Additionally, the CRG will promote dialogue between agencies, industry and the community, and increase community confidence in the environmental performance of the RAAF Williamtown base and the agency response. The CRG will be linked with the Expert Panel and the Department of Defence.
The Department of Premier and Cabinet will chair the CRG, with specialist agency inputs from the Department of Defence, Environmental Protection Authority, Hunter New England Local Health District, Department of Primary Industries and Port Stephens Council.
A total of seven local community and industry representatives, including resident groups from Williamtown and Fullerton Cove, recreational fishing interests, the Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council, NSW Farmers Association and local oyster and fishing primary producer representatives, are participating in the CRG
Mr MacDonald will advise the Premier and Minister for the Environment on the mechanisms by which the community wishes to be kept informed of progress on Defence and the NSW Government responses.
Mr MacDonald wrote to local elected representatives on the 30th September informing them that an Elected Representatives Reference Group (ERRG) will also be established. The ERRG will advise members of outcomes from the Community Reference Group; communicate any information from State Government Agencies and the Inquiry led by NSW Chief Scientist Professor Mary O’Kane; and assist with the flow of information between Federal and State MPs and Mayors.
Media: Scot MacDonald MLC, 0408 450 032