PFAS inquiry consults the CSIRO

Issue date: Monday, 30 November 2020

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A parliamentary inquiry into PFAS remediation in and around Defence bases will hear today from key scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Australia’s national science agency about its latest environmental research.

Chair of the PFAS Sub-committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Senator Dr Sam McMahon said that the CSIRO has played a major role in Australia’s recovery following two world wars, driving science and technology innovation to solve the greatest challenges facing the nation. 

The CSIRO is now charged to address the growing impact of contaminants such as petroleum hydrocarbons, per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), solvents, pesticides, fertilisers and metals on the environment.

‘Today, the PFAS Sub-committee will discuss with the CSIRO’s Land and Water experts the complex challenges posed by legacy PFAS substances released by firefighting foams,’ Senator McMahon said.

‘One of the things we will want to know is to what extent Defence has adopted CSIRO recommendations last parliament to focus on containing, removing and destroying PFAS contaminants in soils, and for a more coordinated response on the knowledge gaps.’

Senator McMahon noted that the CSIRO’s Land and Water work brings together the largest international multi-disciplinary team of environmental contamination expertise in the world. 

‘The CSIRO is currently working with industry and universities in the cutting edge area of biotechnology, where mixed microbial communities work to breakdown PFAS and other contaminants. The CSIRO says this method improves ecosystem functions, protects biodiversity and decreases potential health risks’, the Senator said.


Public hearing details: 

Date: Monday 30 November 2020
Time: ~4:10 pm to 5:00 pm
Location: Committee Room IR4, Parliament House, Canberra.
via teleconference

The hearing will be audio streamed live at

Media inquiries

Senator Dr Sam McMahon
Chair of the PFAS Sub-committee
(02) 02) 6277 3643

For background information

For further details about the scrutiny process and the Committee’s public hearing program contact:
Committee Secretary
Sub-committee Secretariat
02 6277 2313

For more information about this Committee you can visit its website. You can also track the Committee and receive email updates by clicking on the blue ‘Track Committee’ button in the bottom right hand corner of the page.

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