Anger spills over to protest at Oakey army base

OAKEY residents attempting to deal with water chemical contamination will take their protest to the gates of a helicopter base.

Jennifer Spencer lives on land contaminated by chemicals and said residents were frustrated with their plight and wouldn't be silent.

The chemicals perfluorooctane sulphonate and perfluorooctanoic acid seeped into bores after decades of use by the Department of Defence.

Ms Spencer said residents had closely read recently released recommendations from a Senate inquiry into the problem and said they didn't go far enough.

Affected residents are unhappy with the extent of the recommendations and plan a protest at the source of the contamination, the Oakey Army Aviation Centre.

"We're going to stand there and do a protest because since the report has been released they've stopped negotiations," she said.

Ms Spencer is calling for faster action from the Department of Defence, particularly regarding mental health which she said was "a real problem".

Jennifer Spencer is calling for swift action from the Department of Defence.
Jennifer Spencer is calling for swift action from the Department of Defence. Andrew Backhouse

Blood tests show numerous residents have exceedingly high levels of the potentially-fatal chemicals in their blood and living with that is causing angst.

Although generally pleased with the recommendations which cover issues like mental health support and blood tests, there was one glaring omission; the provision of clean water, residents say.

Ms Spencer and her partner paid $200,000 for their property in 2013, unaware that it was contaminated.

She's been told by valuers that the contamination could drastically impact the land's worth.

So the provision of town water to the property would help compensate them, she said.

Mental health issues were also rife among those affected, she said.

Represented by her legal team, Shine Lawyers, she contacted the Department of Health regarding services.

Previously in public meeting she was assured of help.

But she said the response was mere "lip service".

She is calling for swift action from Defence to implement the recommendations, particularly the provision regarding free mental health services.

Defence was asked by The Chronicle if it was planning to implement any of the recommendations and when it might do so but did not respond.

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