On Wednesday 25 October Department of Defence held the first of two information sessions regarding the connection of scheme water to Bullsbrook residents affected by Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination.
The scheme water infrastructure plan is on track – even if that track does seem like a long one – with initial site inspections with West Bullsbrook residents and plumbing contractors forecasted for the final quarter in 2024, and connection completed by the first half of 2026.
The initial proposal by the Department of Defence to cover the funding for water service and usage charges for six years has now been extended to eight years from connection. Should a property be sold in this time, this will still apply, with the balance being transferred to the new account holders. Residents will receive Water Corporation bills during this period, so they can track their usage and budget accordingly for the end of this period.
Assistant Minister for Defence Matt Thistlethwaite also announced government plans to address broader concerns around the ubiquitous PFAS chemicals, including an enquiry into the ongoing management of contaminated land around Defence bases. This is an independent enquiry being led by Mr Jim Varghese with a report due to be handed to government in February 2024. Members of the public may make a submission to this review by visiting www.pfasindependentreview.com.au/pfasreview until Sunday 3 December.
Minister Thistlethwaite stated that the government intends to ban four of the most toxic PFAS chemicals – of which there are more than 4000 – from 1 July 2025. State and Commonwealth governments are working on a National PFAS Position Statement, which “articulates the shared view of Australian governments that further release of PFAS into the environment from ongoing use should be prevented where practicable and that actions to reduce or phase out the use of PFAS should be nationally consistent.
“The Position Statement lists a set of nationally agreed objectives for phasing-out the use of PFAS of concern in Australia. It is designed to encourage discussion between government, industry. and other stakeholders to identify options for achieving these objectives.” More information on that PFAS Position Statement can be found at www.pfas.gov.au.
There is another community walk-in session this Saturday, 28 October at Ethel Warren Community Centre from 9am-12pm.