Greens call for investigation of Gold Coast Airport PFOS/PFOA soil contamination

Lindy Smith, Dawn Walker, Jan Barham MLC, Cr Gary Bagnall and Mayor Katie Milne visit the Crown Reserve affected by Gold Coast airport expansion

North Coast Greens MP Jan Barham and Environment spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi have called on the NSW Government to investigate and provide information about the soil contamination involving potentially carcinogenic chemicals at Gold Coast Airport.

Greens Environment spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC said: “This contamination involves the same perfluorocarbon chemicals that affected surface and ground water at the Williamtown RAAF base in the Hunter, affecting fisheries and prompting health warnings and multiple investigations.

“I wrote to the Environment Minister back in October last year seeking information as to whether what happened at Williamtown could happen anywhere else in the State and did not receive a reply. People shouldn’t have to find out about major contaminations by accident.

“I’ve lodged questions on notice in Parliament asking the Environment Minister whether the NSW Government had been informed about this contamination and seeking an investigation of the extent of the contamination and the risks it might pose to the surrounding region.

“The Cobaki Broadwater and its biodiversity deserve protection under the Ramsar Convention so it’s crucial for the Minister to ensure there is no risk to the wetland and the Tweed region.”

Greens North Coast spokesperson Jan Barham MLC said: “The presence of these toxic and persistent chemicals at Gold Coast Airport is a cause for concern in the Tweed region, and the NSW Government needs to provide information to the community.

“I’m troubled that this information has only come to light after the airport’s proposed Instrument Landing System (ILS) was approved and the final Major Development Plan was released.

“The draft plan that was released for public comments last year didn’t mention these chemicals, despite the fact that their use in firefighting was discontinued around 2010.

“In question time today I’ll call on the Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water to act to halt the installation of the ILS on NSW Crown Land until a full Environmental Impact Assessment and investigation of the potential impacts have been undertaken.

“The NSW Government has to respond urgently to address the concerns of the Tweed community.”

Contacts for further comment:
– Matt Hilton for Mehreen Faruqi 9230 2625 / 0423 106 247
– Jan Barham 0447 853 891

Questions on notice to Environment Minister
Watch question time 2:30pm-3:30pm today