This week we’ve been witness to yet more mixed messages from theTurnbull Government in its response to PFAS contamination in Katherine.
Less than one month ago, Katherine residents were told their water was safe to drink.
Yet this week, the Minister for Defence and Chief Minister of the Northern Territory announced a water treatment plant to reduce the amount of PFAS in the town water supply.
Despite the fact the Department of Defence only began its detailed environmental investigation in March, which will take 12 months to complete.
And the Prime Minister declare three weeks ago – “[the Federal Government] would expect that once a clearer picture of the situation in and around Katherine and Darwin becomes available, Defence will formulate a strategy based on that information”.
The following questions need to be answered:
- If the drinking water is safe, why the sudden announcement of the water treatment plan?
- Who identified the need for the water treatment plant and has the community been consulted?
- What advice and evidence was the decision to purchase the water treatment plant based on?
- How much will the water treatment plant cost and who is paying?
- Will voluntary blood tests now be offered to the people of Katherine?
- Will the epidemiological study begin sooner than anticipated?
- What role is the Turnbull Government’s PFAS Taskforce playing in this strategy?
- Is the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister still managing the Turnbull Government’s response to PFAS?
- Has responsibility been handed back to the Minister for Defence?
The residents of Katherine deserve more from this divided and dysfunctional Turnbull Government.