CONCERNED: Dianne Priddle at her Oakey property.
CONCERNED: Dianne Priddle at her Oakey property. Bev Lacey

Oakey's PFAS message to Bundy: You need to ask questions

"IF you think not having answers for two-and-a-half weeks is a long time, wait until you've been asking for four-and-a-half years."

This is the message to the Bundaberg community from Oakey resident Dianne Priddle.

Ms Priddle says she lives in "ground zero" for the Australian PFAS contamination.

With her partner, David Jefferis, Ms Priddle runs a 80ha cattle stud at Oakey, on the Darling Downs.

She has multiple sclerosis and moved to the area from Biloela for a simpler life in the early 2000s.

But it seems it is anything but the simple life for the couple who live within the PFAS contamination zone, with concerns their groundwater has been contaminated by the fire-fighting foam chemicals used by the army in training exercises at the nearby Oakey Army Aviation Base.

"We have been at the frontline from word go," Ms Priddle told the NewsMail.

"It's mentally and physically exhausting."

Ms Priddle said authorities played a "language game" when it came to giving answers.

"There is inconsistency of language used between departments," she said.

"No one wants to take responsibility.

Why we should be worried about PFAS

"I think if we have to wait for answers to come, we will be dead."

For four years the couple have been jumping through hoops asking the departments questions, to no avail.

Ms Priddle said Australia was trailing the rest of the world when it comes to understanding the chemical and the harm it can do.

"We need to look at America and see what they have done," she said.

In 2009, United States Environmental Protection Agency published provisional health advisories for PFOA and PFOS based on the evidence available and updated it in 2016.

It provided a margin of protection from a lifetime of exposure to PFOA and PFOS from drinking water, EPA established the health advisory levels at 70 parts per trillion.

Ms Priddle said Australia was years behind due to "slack departments" passing the buck.

"They just don't take any responsibility," she said.

"Communities should know about this."

Business owner concerned for family and employees

Ms Priddle said at the start of the investigations they were provided with data from the US and then date from the EU.

"The Australian PFAS levels are still too high," she said.

"Australia still hasn't set the levels that all the other countries have.

"It's all just gobbledgosh that the departments speak to us."

The couple have had government officials visit their property with no results.

"It's insulting to us," she said.

"They (the government) come here and say they have no problem drinking a glass of water or eating a piece of meat.

"It's just insulting."

Ms Priddle warned Bundaberg residents, saying people to be prepared to not have any answers any time soon.

"How I am still sane, I will never know," she said.

"I can't get anyone to do jack."



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