Response to reporting on the Department of Defence’s stockpiles of aqueous film forming foams in the Courier Mail
17 July 2016
18 July 2016 On the Record
On 8 July, the Courier Mail reported that it understood Defence sites (Oakey Army Aviation Centre, RAAF Base Amberley and RAAF Base Townsville) were holding significant amounts of aqueous film forming foams.
This is incorrect; Defence does not maintain stocks of the legacy aqueous film forming foams. Defence policy is to ensure that no legacy AFFF is used and none is retained on Defence facilities. Defence has undertaken a comprehensive program of disposal to ensure this.
Defence is confident that its processes are robust and that any legacy foams identified are disposed of at licensed facilities.
From 2004 - 2011, Defence phased out the legacy aqueous film forming foams. Defence transitioned to a new, more environmentally friendly product called Ansulite for use on the Defence estate. Ansulite is used by Defence in emergency situations where human life is at risk, or in controlled environments to test equipment. Any Ansulite used for testing is captured and treated and/or disposed of at licensed waste disposal facilities.
I welcome your newspaper’s interest in this topic and we will continue to provide any assistance that we can to ensure a balanced and informed discussion on this matter.
Acting Deputy Secretary Estate and Infrastructure Group