An Albanese Labor Government will conduct an independent review on opportunities for land and property that have been impacted by PFAS contamination.
Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances – better known as PFAS – are chemicals found in legacy firefighting foam, which Defence began phasing out from 2004.
The review will involve Defence, and PFAS-impacted landowners and stakeholders.
Defence is currently undertaking a national program to review, investigate and implement its approach to managing PFAS impacts on and around some of its bases around Australia – however this review is focused on contamination levels and remedial actions.
Labor’s review will specifically explore use and voluntary repurposing, including Government acquisition, of contaminated land in an equitable and efficient manner.
The review will have a remit to consider repurposing land adjacent to Defence facilities for industrial use, particularly for defence industry.
Across Australia, communities affected by PFAS have felt abandoned by the Morrison Government, with some involved in class actions relating to property values. The proposed review will be conducted carefully to avoid impacting any legal action.
This commitment builds on Labor’s strong advocacy for communities affected by PFAS across Australia.
Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Shayne Neumann said PFAS contamination had affected many communities across Australia, including his own electorate of Blair.
“This has been a big issue in my community of Ipswich, which is home to RAAF Base Amberley.
“Many residents of affected areas have been unhappy with the way the Morrison Government and Defence have treated them, and they want a fully independent and comprehensive examination.
“Labor has listened to these communities and we will undertake an independent review that will examine future opportunities for use of PFAS affected land.”
Federal Member for Paterson Meryl said a Labor Government would work with the community, not against them.
“This will be the first meaningful step for people affected by PFAS taken by a government in seven years,” Ms Swanson said.
“Solutions must be found for people who are stuck on land they can no longer use through no fault of their own.
“Labor will look for those solutions.”