Joint media release:
- Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Defence Personnel, the Hon Andrew Gee MP
- Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham
The Morrison-Joyce Government has delivered on its promise to find a solution to the provision of a long-term, sustainable water supply to the residents of West Bullsbrook, north of Perth.
Today also marks the start of construction on Western Australia’s very own 1000 bed Centre for National Resilience and purpose-built quarantine facility.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Andrew Gee said the Australian Government had worked with the WA Government and the WA Water Corporation to deliver a water infrastructure solution for local residents.
“In consultation with the WA Government and the WA Water Corporation, Defence will progress works to connect West Bullsbrook properties to town water,” Minister Gee said.
“This solution would address per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination issues in existing groundwater at those properties identified as being PFAS contaminated.
“Since 2015, the Department of Defence has conducted a national program to understand the nature and extent of PFAS contamination on, and around, a number of Defence sites across the country.
“Investigations at 26 out of 28 sites have concluded, including at RAAF Base Pearce, so we are moving to a management and remediation phase to address the needs of local communities, including the residents of West Bullsbrook.”
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said providing appropriate infrastructure to the communities in which Defence lives and operates was critical.
“Delivering this infrastructure solution will be of great benefit to the residents of West Bullsbrook, and I look forward to further discussions with the WA Government to progress these important works,” Minister Price said.
“As the new Federal Member for the residents of West Bullsbrook, my top priority has been to work with the local community and Defence to secure a solution on the need for a mains water connection.
“I know from my discussions with local residents and the council that this has been their number one issue.
“I hope that this commitment will provide reassurance to the affected West Bullsbrook community.”
Federal Minister for Finance Simon Birmingham said that as well as delivering this water solution for local residents, the next stage of work to construct a 1000 bed Centre for National Resilience at Bullsbrook would commence from today.
“We said work on site would start in October. From today, construction activities will now ramp-up to turn this Centre into a reality, with the aim to have the first 500 beds completed within the first quarter of next year,” Minister Birmingham said.
“We fully expect this Centre will help support the safe return of international travellers into Western Australia where there are any ongoing short-term quarantine requirements.
“Safely managing international arrivals into WA during the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be an important contributor to keeping Western Australians safe.
“Whilst this Centre will form part of our artillery against COVID-19, over the longer-term it will also provide us with capacity to respond to future health crises and emergency responses.”
The Centre will be constructed and owned by the Commonwealth, but will be operated by the WA Government for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further information about Defence’s activities to manage and remediate PFAS contamination on and around RAAF Base Pearce is available here.
Artwork of the facility can also be found here.