“The Federal Government’s response to Senate inquiry into PFAS contains at least one inaccuracy.

The inquiry holds its first public hearing in Katherine on Thursday.

In its formal submission lodged on Friday, the government outlined its response to the contamination primarily around its defence bases, including the Tindal RAAF Base…

The government agreed drinking contaminated water, as had been the case in Katherine for many years, ‘has been identified as a primary exposure pathway’.

Blood tests have found some residents have some of the highest PFAS levelsrecorded in the world, according to local GP P.J. Spafford.

‘Defence provides alternative drinking water to residents, where required, and provides affected communities with information about ways in which they can reduce their exposure to PFAS.’

The government response said it had provided an emergency treatment plant for Katherine, to clean PFAS from a small amount of drinking water.

Rainwater tanks were also being provided to about 60 properties…

Authorities have agreed a larger treatment plant is the long-term solution for Katherine.

In its response to the Senate inquire, the government submission stated its contract negotiations for the installation of additional water treatment plants at Tindal were expected to be finalised by the end of June.

It infers Katherine’s solution was also to be successfully decided then.

Yet, as the Katherine Times discovered two weeks ago, no contracts for Katherine have yet been signed.

‘Representatives from Defence and Power and Water Corporation met on Tuesday, June 19 in Darwin to discuss the long-term water supply strategy, including identifying ongoing support Defence may provide,’ a Defence media spokesman said…

No timelines has been provided by either Defence or Power and Water on when contracts will be signed, and certainly not in June as stated in the government response to the Senate inquiry.

Defence media on Monday night responded to questioning from the Katherine Times.

‘Defence has entered into a contract to install and operate two water treatment plants at RAAF Base Tindal. The contract, with ECT2, is for an initial period of three years, with two possible extensions of two years each,’ a spokesman said…

The Senate inquiry public hearing will be held at Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts and Culture Centre from 9.45am to 4.30pm on Thursday.

The inquiry was set up after Senators claimed to have been unhappy with the Federal Government’s handling of the PFAS contamination issue.

The inquiry has already caused a bombshell or two with the NSW Government saying the Commonwealth should compensate people hit by contamination issues if they cannot fix the problem.

Many Katherine residents have joined a class action against the government over lost property values.”

Read the full article by Chris McLennan