Environmental (in)justice

Dr Meg Sherval

Environmental injustice takes many forms. Most often it is associated with marginalisation and social vulnerability caused by events or decision-making outside ones control. This current project examines the events, which unfolded in the Williamtown area when communities were exposed to a long-term PFAS/PFOA contamination. For years they sought compensation believing it would bring some closure to the events which had affected their lives, in the end though, all it brought was further uncertainty. This project considers the contamination event, the government response to this and community concerns, and the processes leading up to the final court case. It examines the notion of ‘acceptable risk’ and seeks to extend the traditional definition of environmental justice.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.