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Port Stephens Mayor calls for speedy action on RAAF water contamination

Publish Date 22/09/2015

Mayor of Port Stephens, Bruce MacKenzie, has called on the Department of Defence and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) for an expeditious resolution to investigations into contamination on and around the RAAF Williamtown base.

In a Mayoral Minute backed unanimously at tonight's Port Stephens Council meeting, Mayor MacKenzie urgently requested both authorities to develop a clear action plan to keep the community informed about the response to contaminants identified in groundwater south of RAAF Williamtown.

Council will also lobby for immediate assistance, including free access to health checks, financial hardship and access to town water, to be made available to affected residents.

Mayor MacKenzie said he welcomed the establishment of the Williamtown Community Reference Group (WCRG), formed at the direction of the NSW Premier in addition to two State Government reviews to both advise government on the ongoing management of the contamination and review the EPA's management of contaminated sites.

Council's General Manager, Wayne Wallis, has been invited to represent Port Stephens Council on the WCRG.

"This is an issue that has quite rightly caused significant community concern around health, livelihoods, property values, health of domestic animals and livestock and the local environment and I'm pleased the community has been given this forum to ensure their views are heard," Mayor MacKenzie said.

Council has been invited to nominate local community members to participate in the WCRG.

Council's resolution called on the Department of Defence and the NSW Environmental Protection Authority to establish a framework with timelines for action, consultation and assistance available to affected residents.

"Council's continued focus is to help the community in relation to this issue as directed by lead federal and state government agencies," Mayor MacKenzie said.

"This includes ongoing advocacy and representation to the Department of Defence and the EPA for clear guidance on the action going forward and immediate support to be made available to residents."