On Wednesday 18 September 2019 the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade initiated under its annual report powers an inquiry into the remediation of PFAS related impacts in and around defence bases.
The focus of the review will be work progressed under the ‘National PFAS Investigation and Management Program’, as reported in Chapter 9 of the Department of Defence 2017–18 Annual Report.
The Department’s annual report stated that Defence had conducted environmental investigations of 23 PFAS affected sites, with site work being progressed under PFAS Management Area Plans (MAPs), including by:
provision of alternative water supplies to residents who live near investigation sites and are reliant on bore water for drinking;
implementation of management and remediation options for contaminated water and soil, including through clearance of drains, the installation of water treatment plants; and
review of emerging remediation technologies for future application.
The Department of Defence 2018-19 Annual Report subsequently advised of this work on 28 sites. The PFAS Sub-committee’s inquiry will monitor the progress of Defence activity under the National Program and review evolving policy on PFAS-related health and environmental impacts over the course of the 46th Parliament.