The parliamentary inquiry said there was a case for compensation because of the destruction of property prices in affected areas such as Oakey. Picture: David Martinelli
The parliamentary inquiry said there was a case for compensation because of the destruction of property prices in affected areas such as Oakey. Picture: David Martinelli

John McVeigh appointed chair of Parliament's PFAS task force

GROOM MP John McVeigh will head up the Federal Parliament's PFAS group, a subcommittee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.

Dr McVeigh was appointed chair of the subcommittee by colleagues last month.

PFAS, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, are a group of human-made chemicals, the most common of which are perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid.

The chemicals were commonly found in firefighting foams used at aviation centres including the Oakey Army Aviation Centre for decades. The chemicals contaminated ground water supplies around the base.

Dr McVeigh said he thought it was fairly significant an MP from a PFAS-impacted area had been appointed to chair the subcommittee.

John McVeigh MP proposes a roundabout at the corner of Cohoe and Perth streets. Thursday, 28th Feb, 2019.
Groom MP John McVeigh. Nev Madsen

"It's logical if you have a member on a committee that has an appreciation of an issue that's greater than the other members of the committee that they should lead such a committee," he said.

A previous iteration of the subcommittee last year held an inquiry into the management of PFAS contamination in and around Defence bases.

That report recommended a coordinator general be appointed to coordinate a national response to the issue, that the government reviews its health advice and the government should compensate home owners impacted by the contamination.

"I think they a very sensible set of recommendations," Dr McVeigh said.

"Since that report was published last year we've had the first settlement between the Commonwealth and (an Oakey resident)."

Dr McVeigh said he was also interested in continued research into the human health impacts of PFAS contamination.

He said he still followed the official government health advice which says there is no link between PFAS and health impacts like increased cancer risks.