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The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP

Independent review of land uses around key Defence bases impacted by PFAS contamination

The Albanese Labor Government is delivering on its election commitment with an independent review of land uses around key Defence bases impacted by per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination.

Led by Mr Jim Varghese AM, the Review will focus on communities around RAAF Base Williamtown (NSW), the Army Aviation Centre Oakey (QLD), and RAAF Base Tindal (NT).

Working in consultation with Commonwealth, State, Territory and local governments, affected communities and industry, the Review will explore alternative uses for impacted land around the three key Defence bases.

These are areas representative of the challenges faced by other Defence communities impacted by PFAS contamination. There will be an opportunity for other communities affected by Defence’s historic use of PFAS to make submissions to the Review.

This includes identifying opportunities where adjacent land may be repurposed to support the Australian Defence Force to deliver on the Defence Strategic Review, while better supporting communities.

A public consultation process and hearing schedule will be released in coming weeks.

Mr Varghese has extensive experience in conducting independent reviews at the Federal and State level. He is the Chairman and owner of The Leadership Company Qld Pty Ltd, Chancellor of Torrens University, Chairman of City of Springfield Board of Directors, and a director of several private and not-for-profit companies.

The Review is expected to be finalised in early 2024.

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Defence, the Hon. Matt Thistlethwaite MP:

“I have spoken directly with communities impacted by PFAS contamination to hear their concerns. They want solutions. I would like to thank each community for this ongoing and productive consultation.”

“We know that Defence’s historic use of PFAS has resulted in some diminished opportunities for land uses around some Defence bases.”

“The findings of this Review will be important in informing the government about how to help communities affected by PFAS contamination around Defence bases.”

Media note

Further information about the Defence PFAS Investigation and Management program is available here: PFAS Investigation and Management Program | About | Defence

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