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Parliamentary Questions

Question On Notice No. 2315 asked in the Legislative Council on 6 August 2019 by Hon Charles Smith

Question Directed to the: Minister for Environment
Minister responding: Hon S.N. Dawson
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

(1) In reference to the beef that is sold to the wider community of Western Australia from the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contaminated investigation area of Bullsbrook, Western Australia, I have been made aware that the cattle raised on Defence leased land, located in the PFAS Investigation area of Bullsbrook, drink from wells and surface water and go to market for consumption from the wider community of Western Australia. I ask the Minister to:
(a) please advise of the PFAS tests conducted on these cattle and the readings/test results of PFAS in their bodies; and
(b) the PFAS readings from the bores which the cattle drink from?
(2) In reference to the sprout farm, Farmland Greens, located in the PFAS investigation area of Bullsbrook, I ask:
(a) will the Minister please advise my office of the PFAS test results of the bores irrigating the sprouts at the location of the sprout farm, 1100 Almeria Parade, Bullsbrook, Western Australia; and
(b) the PFAS test results of the produce, for example: sprouts, alfalfa, etc. being sold to supermarkets all around Western Australia?

Answered on 3 September 2019

RAAF Base Pearce falls within Commonwealth jurisdiction. In accordance with the principles of the Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Framework for Responding to PFAS Contamination, the Department of Defence (DoD) is carrying out investigations and risk assessments to manage the risks associated with PFAS contamination at RAAF Base Pearce, including groundwater impacts in West Bullsbrook. To provide you with some background that may assist you in your inquiries, the Western Australian Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) has provided the following.


(1) (a) DWER has been advised by DoD that cattle raised on DoD-owned property located within the Pearce investigation area are for stud purposes only and are not sold for meat consumption. No PFAS tests were conducted on these cattle.


(b) DWER has not been provided with the results of water testing at this property. The Department has been advised by DoD that groundwater and surface water samples were collected across the property. The DoD’s Ecological Risk Assessment for Pearce determined that there is a low risk of adverse effects from PFAS exposure to cattle on the property.

(2) In reference to the sprout farm, Farmland Greens:


(a)–(b) DWER has not been provided with the results of water testing at this property. For information regarding human health risks, the final Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) is available on the DoD’s website. As part of the HHRA, samples of fruit and vegetables grown in the investigation area and irrigated with bore water were tested, and no PFAS were detected in any of the samples.