In areas where PFAS contamination has been detected, the main focus for governments is the well-being of affected communities. The Australian Government supports these communities by:
- Helping people to minimise their exposure to PFAS by providing alternative drinking water where necessary, and site-specific advice on other ways to reduce exposure.
- Holding community engagement sessions to provide information and advice about site investigation and management activities.
- Offering free mental health counselling services.
The Department of Defence provides information on Defence sites being investigated or managed under its PFAS Investigation and Management Program, including community information events at those sites.
Alternative drinking water is currently being provided to property owners in communities surrounding Army Aviation Centre Oakey, Qld and RAAF Bases Williamtown, NSW, Tindal, NT and Pearce, WA, who use bores as their primary source of drinking water, and where PFAS is present at levels above the drinking water guidance value. For more information, visit the Department of Defence website.
The Australian Government also provided free blood testing for PFAS for eligible people who lived or worked in Williamtown, NSW, Oakey, Qld and Katherine, NT. The Voluntary Blood Testing Program ended on 30 June 2019. With the permission of those who had their blood tested, the results will be used in an Epidemiological Study being conducted by the Australian National University to improve to our understanding of the health risks of PFAS.
The Commonwealth Department of Health has an information service for public enquiries relating to health and the Health-led initiatives developed in response to PFAS contamination. This service is available by phone on 1800 941 180 or by email to health.PFAS@health.gov.au.
Additionally, free financial counselling services are available to all Australians through the Australian Government Department of Human Services and some not-for-profit organisations. A list of organisations offering free financial counselling can be found on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission website.