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Angry response on fishing compo from families affected by toxic RAAF base leak

November 9, 2015
Latest News

4051008-16x9-460x259Commercial fishermen near Newcastle have reacted angrily to a compensation package, announced in the wake of fisheries closures due to a toxic chemical leak from Williamtown’s air force base.

Many have not received an income for two months after fishing bans were put in place when the chemicals from firefighting foam leaked into surface and ground water.

The Commonwealth yesterday announced a $5,000 business assistance payment, as well as a $20,000 hardship payment.

Families may also be eligible for an income recovery subsidy of $523 a fortnight.

But fisherman John Hewitt said with that money, he does not know how he will put food on the table.

“It’s ridiculous, it’s a disgrace, I’m better off on the dole,” he said.

“It costs me that for my mortgage each week, for my house, plus more.

“And plus, I still need to send my kids to school, so I don’t know how I’ll put food on my table.”

Prawn trawler Kevin Radnidge is not much happier.

“We’ve spent more on our boats getting ready for the season than what they’re offering us.”

Prawn trawlers have chosen to delay the start of the season until they get test results back from a part of the Hunter River they want to fish.

Published by ABC News 5th November 2015