Senator joins fight against 'disgraceful' contamination
OAKEY residents fighting for answers and a fair go over groundwater contamination concerns have secured the support of Senator Nick Xenophon.
During a campaign stop in Toowoomba yesterday, the Nick Xenophon Team party leader accused the Department of Defence and the Federal Government of abandoning the town.
While residents seized the chance to question Senator Xenophon and NXT candidate for Groom Josie Townsend on other issues, the Oakey contamination issue dominated the meeting and the question and answer session.
Senator Xenophon vowed to write to the Defence Department and take up the fight for fair compensation.
"There needs to be immediate action in this caretaker mode to address this," he said.
"What has happened to the people of Oakey is a disgrace."
Oakey landowner Dianne Priddle, whose beef stud sits on the border of the contamination zone, said residents felt abandoned and shuffled between levels of government that she charged with inaction.
"We want something done, not in six months, not in six weeks," she said.
"Our lives are in turmoil (and there are) many people who still don't understand the issues that we have.
"Come in and give us blood tests, give us what our lands are worth.
"When the Defence Department contacted us first, the word asbestos was used.
"They likened this to asbestos in our area."
Senator Xenophon said he would write to the Federal Government and the Defence Department, calling for a full inquiry into the issue.
Candidate Ms Townsend said the contamination issue was one of many in Groom which had not been addressed.
Jobs creation, food security, foreign debt and land ownership and refugee intake were the big issues raised by voters.
Ms Townsend said she wasn't surprised at the breadth of the issues.
"I actually believe that this is an electorate that has been told what to do for a long time," she said.
"I think there is a lot of room in Groom for people to be represented."
Ms Townsend said she was prepared for a fight to represent Groom at the July 2 election.
Yesterday's forum drew a crowd of about 50 residents.