PATERSON MP Meryl Swanson was absolutely correct this week when she said Labor's PFAS-specific policy was not what Williamtown red zone residents wanted.
Having outlined an elephant of a problem in its policy statement due to be issued on Thursday, listening to communities and making things right, the Shorten opposition has only offered a mouse of a solution.
Shadow defence minister Richard Marles will be in the Hunter on Thursday to announce Labor's national policy framework for managing toxic firefighting foam contamination around Department of Defence bases.
But Mr Marles will face a tough sell in Williamtown with residents pinning their hopes on a significant red zone-specific announcement before the election.
Labor's policy has its share of sugar-coating but whether this will make it go down well with the voters remains to be seen as it does nothing in terms of offering any hope of compensation or a way out for residents who are trapped on their contaminated properties.
After coming under fire at a Paterson election candidates' forum in Williamtown on Monday, Ms Swanson said Labor would commit $20 million to helping clean up drains in the red zone if it wins on Saturday.
Unfortunately for Williamtown residents, it was a promise already made in March of $10 million from the state and $10 million from the federal governments if they won both elections. Federal Labor has agreed to pick up the $10 million shortfall if it wins.
According to Labor's new policy framework, if elected, it plans to take a national approach to the unfolding PFAS pollution crisis.
It has promised a longitudinal health study, that involves repeated observations of the same variables, looking at potential long-term health impacts of exposure to PFAS, including collaboration with the United Nations and OECD.
Labor plans to improve the PFAS Task Force to make it work faster and report more often to government and affected communities. This includes preparing a biannual report for parliament.
It will ratify a landmark United Nations' decision - made more than a decade ago - to phase out the chemical at the centre of the Williamtown scandal.
The chemical perfluorooctane sulfonate [PFOS], which has tainted properties near the Williamtown RAAF Base, was listed on the Stockholm Convention in 2009. The move would bring Australia into line with 171 countries.
Labor said it would also work towards banning the use of firefighting foams containing PFAS.
"We will work to create a national PFAS inventory to identify any current stockpiles, track the use of PFAS in the phase out period and monitor the disposal of stockpiles," Mr Marles said.