Read the full article by Ellen Ebsary (Katherine Times)

“As legal action progresses against the Australian Defence Force and its use of now-restricted firefighting foam at Bandiana, Wodonga residents are becoming increasingly concerned about the health impacts.

Shine Lawyers will allege that from the 1970s to the early 2000s, the Commonwealth failed to adequately capture and clean up aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), which contains chemicals that persist in the environment and are ‘potentially causative of adverse health effects’.

Similar legal action has resulted in a $212.5 million settlement for residents in Katherine, Williamtown and Oakey.

The class action is on behalf of people in Wodonga who owned property within the investigation area on October 1, 2016 – when Defence first announced testing for PFAS.

After succeeding with the Katherine and Oakey class actions, Shine Lawyers is now taking class actions including Darwin, Bullsbrook, Edinburgh, Richmond, Townsville and Wagga Wagga.

It is not seeking personal injury claims, but that hasn’t stopped residents asking questions about health implications.

Gloria Newton read about apparent cancer clusters in places like Williamtown, after receiving one of 4800 notices that Shine Lawyers sent at the end of July.

‘I didn’t know who else had gotten the letter, and then I found out Heather had got it. Then we started researching,’ she said.

Her neighbour, Heather Watts, remembers the fence designating Defence land used to be just up from her house on the other side of Beechworth Road, where White Box Rise is now.

The land was divested by Defence and sold in

‘I used to walk over to the kangaroos, and there was a dirt road … I used to walk up there everyday with the dog,’ she said.

‘One particular day, I was standing up there looking down, and there was this old car in the middle of a field.

‘I sat down and watched, and there was all Army running around, and they blew the car up. They had the fire truck there then.

‘They say in the Bandiana investigation that it’s [PFAS] at low levels, and is below what is unacceptable – well, of course they’re going to say that.

‘It’s cumulative in humans – we grew our own veggies in the soil, and all the rest of it.’

In Allambie Crescent, there has been cancer in 11 out of 17 residences.

Within a 300-metre radius, there have been a further 25 diagnoses of a wide range of cancers…”