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State Government talks positive: Mayor

Publish Date 22/10/2015

Talks today in Sydney between key state government ministers and Port Stephens Council about water contamination surrounding RAAF Base Williamtown have been described as 'productive' by Mayor of Port Stephens Bruce MacKenzie.

Mayor MacKenzie and Port Stephens Council General Manager Wayne Wallis met with Minister for Lands and Water Niall Blair MLC, Minister for Finance Dominic Perottet MP to discuss the connection of town water supply to affected residents in Williamtown, Salt Ash and Fullerton Cove.

Approximately 300 residences within or adjacent to the contamination zone rely on bore water, leaving hundreds of people with uncertain access to water while the extent of the contamination is determined.

The meetings facilitated by Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter & Central Coast Scot MacDonald MLC allowed Mayor MacKenzie and Mr Wallis to take the concerns of residents direct to state government, paving the way for strong representations to be made to the Department of Defence.

"We got a very good hearing from both Minister Blair and Minister Perottet and it is very encouraging to see everyone working together to achieve some kind of resolution for the residents," Mayor MacKenzie said.

"Everyone we spoke to was well briefed on the issues and the meetings were productive. This gave us confidence that residents' concerns were being taken seriously, at state level at least.

"Now we need the bureaucrats at the Department of Defence to come to the party and deliver some much needed relief.

"They need to take the lead here and work more closely with state agencies to get the residents more answers than they are getting at the moment.

"I am confident the state government will do everything in its power to engage with Defence on a solution, to agree to the work that needs to be done, and to urge Defence to come to the party on funding the works.

"That will be a good outcome for the people of Port Stephens at this juncture."