PFAS in the environment

Issue date: Friday, 7 February 2020

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On Monday 10 February, the PFAS Sub-committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade will begin the new parliamentary year with questions about Government action on safety frameworks for PFAS in the environment.

The Chair of the PFAS Sub-committee the Hon Dr John McVeigh MP noted that the national regulatory framework for environmental management of PFAS —per- and poly- flouroalkyl substances— is under review.

“With safe levels for PFAS concentrations in soil and water being made more stringent, there will be new obligations for Government to focus on its PFAS remediation efforts”, Dr McVeigh said.

Last year the Committee’s first report, tabled out of session on 20 December 2019, documented Defence’s progress using new cleaning technologies to purge PFAS from soil and water at affected Defence sites around Australia.

At the hearing, representatives from the Environmental Protection Taskforce at the new Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment will brief the Committee on the status of the PFAS National Environmental Management Plan, which is under review, and on other regulatory reforms limiting PFAS exposures.

Dr McVeigh stated: “Environmental laws covering PFAS are managed at state and territory level. There is a need to ensure that Defence is working to a nationally consistent framework of safety standards and that environmental best practice is followed.”

The PFAS Sub-committee’s program of review will continue the following week with the Department of Health. Invitations seeking feedback on evidence to date will also be sought in the course of the year.

Public hearing details

Date: Monday 10 February 2020
Time: ~4:10pm to 5:00pm
Location: Committee Room IR4, Parliament House, Canberra.

The hearing will be audio streamed live at

Media inquiries

Dr John McVeigh MP
Chair of the PFAS Sub-committee
(02) 6277 4277

For background information

Sub-committee Secretariat
02 6277 2313

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