It has been nearly two months since the Senate delivered its report into the RAAF Base Williamtown contamination but the Turnbull Liberal Government is yet to respond.
The Government’s complete lack of action continues to leave the Williamtown community in limbo.
The contamination has left residents and businesses angry, frustrated and anxious.
They’re worried about their health, their jobs, their businesses, their families and their community. Meanwhile, the Government is worried only about the election date.
Local residents are rightfully asking if the Turnbull Government is taking the contamination seriously.
The Senate report made a number of serious recommendations, including optional blood tests for residents, voluntary property acquisitions and fishing license buyouts.
But after nearly two months, the Turnbull Government’s only response to the recommendations has been silence.
When it became clear Defence Minister Marise Payne had no plans to visit Williamtown herself, some residents travelled to Canberra to meet with her instead – only to be told the Minister had no time to see them.
When asked in Senate Estimates what kept her from attending the meeting, Minister Payne simply said, “My diary is what it is.”
Labor understands that a fully-considered response to the Senate report takes time - but there has to be a response.
Minister Payne has said the Williamtown crisis requires a “whole of government response”. But all locals are hearing is deafening silence from the Turnbull Government.
It’s time the Turnbull Government gave the Williamtown community the answers it deserves. Williamtown residents are not out of sight and out of mind - they are simply out of patience.
TUESDAY, 22 MARCH 2016