Thursday, 10 May 2018

Sand mine approval hurts "rock-bottom" residents: Williamtown

BY LAUREN FREEMANTLE

A controversial sand mine has been approved at Williamtown, causing further heartache for residents.

The approval came after the Planning Assessment Commission found no evidence the mine on Cabbage Tree Road will further the spread of PFAS chemicals.

The proposed mine will be adjacent to Rhianna and Cain Gorfine's property, which is in the middle of the contamination red zone.

It comes just days after the federal government walked away from plans to buy-back affected properties, instead spending millions on defence for Williamtown defence capabilities.

Port Stephens MP Kate Washington says it's a cruel blow for residents whose properties have already been rendered worthless by the contamination scandal.

"Their home values are pretty rock-bottom already," Ms Washington said, "and because of that, unlike any other development that's approved across this state, those residents can't leave [Cabbage Tree Road] if they wanted to.

"If they don't like the sand trucks, if they don't like the noise and dust to come out of that sand mine, they can't even move away.

"This is such a cruel decision," she asserted.

The MP issued a plea to the Prime Minister to reconsider his position on property buy-backs.

"Malcolm Turnbull has the power to restore a future to these people's lives," Ms Washington concluded.

News of the $4.7 million sand mine also follows Monday's release of the Expert Health Panel report, which downplays the impact of PFAS chemicals on human health.

Paterson MP Meryl Swanson gave a speech in federal parliament today, decrying the report's findings.

"I stand here today to register on the parliamentary record my utter disgust with the Turnbull government's continued treatment of my constituents," she said.

"...I wish this house to know that I am angered at the timing of the report's release, the method of its release, and I am gravely concerned by its contents."

Ms Swanson called on the Department of Health to further examine a link between PFAS and cancer which has been made abundantly clear by a Fairfax study unearthing a cancer cluster of 50 people living along Cabbage Tree Road.

"The Expert Panel's assessment itself acknowledged there is a relationship between PFAS exposure and indicators of immune response.

"This demands an exhaustive study into any relationship between immune dysfunction and cancer."

Image: The Herald. 

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