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Mayoral Statement: Town Water for Contamination-Affected Residents

Publish Date 24/12/2015

Mayor of Port Stephens, Bruce MacKenzie, says the NSW Government announcement of the connection of residents in the RAAF Base Williamtown contamination zone to town water supply is a welcome – but overdue – development.

"Back on the 30th of October, I sent a letter to the Federal Minister for Defence, Senator Marise Payne, imploring her to do something to help the people of Port Stephens directly affected by contamination issues at RAAF Base Williamtown," Mayor MacKenzie said.

"At the core of the letter, which was also sent to the Prime Minister, the Premier, the Chief of the Defence Force and relevant federal and state politicians, was the request that Defence fund the connection of residents in the investigation zone to town water.

"Now, while it is disappointing to have not heard back from the Minister for Defence, I welcome the fact that someone – in this case, Premier Mike Baird – has finally heeded the call and decided to act.

"Securing water supply to those in the investigation zone should have been the top priority for defence and it is a shame that this was not the case. However, hopefully now we can move forward and get these people connected – quickly.

"Whilst I understand that Defence as the polluter in this case will eventually pick up the bill, I only hope that the Premier and the state Minister for Water have taken into account the costs relating to the provision of water infrastructure to the affected properties.

"In many cases, delivery from mains to the houses themselves will require pipes to be laid under Nelson Bay Road and it would be a shame to see the progress of this initiative take any longer than it already has.

"The 12 to 18 month timeframe flagged in media reporting this morning is also not acceptable. If that's the case it is not good enough and they are not trying. "I call upon Defence, the state and Hunter Water to work together to resolve this matter post haste. Enough is enough."

Read the Mayoral letter seeking relief for residents - 1 November 2015.