The government has reached an in-principle agreement to settle three Federal Court of Australia class actions relating to per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in the communities of Williamtown, NSW, Oakey, Qld, and Katherine, NT.
The parties are in the process of finalising detailed terms of the settlement. These terms are confidential and are subject to formal consideration and approval by the Federal Court of Australia. The parties will inform the Federal Court of Australia that an in-principle agreement has been reached at the first available opportunity.
In a statement, Defence said it sees itself as part of the fabric of these communities and the government remains committed to engaging with those impacted by PFAS contamination.
"Reaching a settlement is not the end of Defence’s engagement in these communities, however, it does represent an important milestone on what has been a difficult journey for many people over the past few years."
"The Government remains committed to concluding the environmental investigations into PFAS contamination on and near Defence facilities across Australia, and to the ongoing monitoring and engagement with communities once investigations are complete."
Defence has run PFAS investigations at 27 different sites around the country in recent times, over half of which have been completed.
“Where we have found contamination, off the base in particular, the ongoing management plan considers the future sampling regime and what we are doing about the provision of clean water where necessary. There are only four sites where we actually have to do that, things like connecting people to town water, installing rainwater tanks or whatever the appropriate solution is, and then how we’ll seek to remediate it,” Deputy Secretary of E&IG Steven Grzeskowiak explained at ADM’s Defence Estate and Base Services Summit last year.