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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 1051 asked in the Legislative Council on 31 October 2018 by Hon Charles Smith

Minister responding: Hon S.N. Dawson
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

SOIL AND WATER CONTAMINATION — WEST BULLSBROOK

1051. Hon CHARLES SMITH to the Minister for Environment:

This question is directed to the Minister for Environment after being redirected from the Minister for Water. I refer to the per-fluoroalkyl chemical—PFAS—contamination in west Bullsbrook that has been detected in bores, soils and eggs.

(1) Does the minister concede that there is scientifically proven PFAS contamination in west Bullsbrook leaching from the RAAF Base Pearce?

(2) Does the minister concede recent investigations by the Department of Defence found six private bores on properties near the base also contained chemicals above the accepted level for drinking water?

(3) Will the minister advise what the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will do about fighting this pollution?

(4) Will the minister fast-track residents currently not attached to mains scheme water in west Bullsbrook onto scheme water?

(5) If no to (4), why not?

Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:

I inform members that this is answered by me as the Minister for Environment.

(1)–(5) Although the legal situation is complex, state environmental laws have limited application to commonwealth land. In accordance with the Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Framework for Responding to PFAS Contamination, the commonwealth is responsible for identifying and managing PFAS contamination on and from commonwealth sites and on sites where commonwealth government activities have resulted in PFAS contamination. The Department of Defence is carrying out investigations and risk assessments for PFAS contamination at and near RAAF Base Pearce, including groundwater testing in west Bullsbrook.

Defence has informed the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation that, by July 2018, it had tested more than 150 groundwater samples off-base, and groundwater samples collected from six residential bores detected PFAS above drinking water guidance values. Alternative water is being provided to these properties. As part of developing its PFAS management area plan for Pearce, Defence has advised it will examine long-term options for the supply of water to these properties, in consultation with residents and relevant state agencies.