Standing up for Canberra

PFAS Management Passed to Fifth Minister in Two Years

The Minister for Defence made it loud and clear in yesterday’s Defence Senate Estimates Spillover Hearing that if you’ve got an issue with PFAS contamination not to go to her or her department for support or advice any more.

When asked which government agency PFAS affected communities could turn to with property devaluation and mental health concerns, the Minister for Defence said this was now the responsibility of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The Minister then buck passed any further enquiries about PFAS contamination to the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, Senator McGrath - even though the Department of Defence is managing and funding the community consultation and next round of PFAS contamination testing on 18 Defence sites across the country.

This is now the fifth Minister in two years.

So fifth Minister, can you please tell us anything about the mystery PFAS Taskforce that has been operating in your department since February?

Is it the same taskforce Labor called for nearly 12 months ago? 

Why weren’t representatives of the taskforce at the Defence Senate Estimates Spillover Hearing to answer questions about PFAS contamination?

Why has it taken so long for the taskforce to be established?

Will the taskforce develop a nationally consistent approach to PFAS contamination?

How will the taskforce work with the Department of Defence on the 18 Defence sites?

Why isn’t information on the taskforce on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's website?

When will communities know exactly what this taskforce is set up to do and what it is going to deliver?

The continued silence around the mystery taskforce only adds to the anxiety around the country about the Turnbull Government’s ability to manage any response to PFAS contamination.

And the fifth Minister working on PFAS contamination in two years only underscores the chaos and dysfunction of the Turnbull Government.