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Byron Shire
January 17, 2022

Secrecy over polluted airport land

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Lindy Smith, Tweed Heads.

The airport Community Aviation Consultative Group was advised last Wednesday civil works is to commence in a week or so for Project Lift. The works for this project include clearing 32.5ha of significant native vegetation and 1,500m realignment of Coolangatta Creek, resulting in substantial disturbance of soil, ground and surface water. It is also seeking to commence civil works for the ILS, which includes clearing of wetlands, 450m realignment of tidal channel and nearly 3km of trenching alongside the lower Tweed River system.

It is confirmed PFC chemicals have contaminated soil and groundwater on the airport site in both NSW and Qld and has been known since 2008. The community is to be kept in the dark on the extent of the spread of the contamination on the airport site and beyond and levels.

These same PFC chemical contaminants have been confirmed to have spread to extensive areas downstream of other airport sites with number of investigative reports handed down and areas with high levels of the chemicals prohibiting commercial/recreation fishing and use of bore/surface water and consumption of some food produce. The Fiskville fire training grounds in Victoria were so contaminated they had to be shut down last year.

Contrary to public statements that the airport and Airservices are ‘committed to providing information on progress to the community’ regarding the contamination it was advised last week they will not in fact be providing any data to the community. That the airport can hide behind ‘Commonwealth land’ status regardless of the state the airport sits upon and have total disregard for the human communities, other industries, environment and vital water resources is contempt at its worst.

And the contempt of the constituents by both the federal and state elected representatives on this matter on our doorstep with their silence and turning a blind eye is even more disturbing. While it can be expected a private company only have regard to profits of shareholders, that our Federal and State elected representatives support a private company’s expansion plans at any cost regardless of the very dire consequences to their constituents is unconscionable.

I have come to the conclusion our two major-party political system is broken with one party in government and the opposition failing to uphold accountability – they are one of the same.

 


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