Interview - Terry Godfrey (Salt Ash victim)

Interview: Terry Godfrey, Salt Ash resident and victim: 3rd June 2003

What are your aims and objectives?

To permanently close Salt Ash Air Weapons Range which is used by RAAF aircraft for low level bombing & strafing day & night

What are the dangers?

Toxic fallout, a minimum 6% of unburnt fuel . [ JP8 ]. Pollution of the Tomago Sandbed aquifer [one of the main water supplies to Newcastle & Port Stephens] ie. Lead, aluminium & many other nasties that are in the sandbeds that we are still trying to identify. There are approx..,600 rainwater tanks affected by the fallout. Everyone that has had a test for Toluene are all above normal levels [Toluene is one the Chemical additives in JP8. Commercial aircraft do not use JP8] Continuous circling of low flying RAAF aircraft over homes & bombing & strafing within 1 kilometre of homes is a major cause of stress in the areas of Salt Ash, Tanilba Bay, Mallubula, Swan Bay, & Bobs Farm. [Approx..,5ooo homes]

The RAAF have started fires on or near the range on Total Ban Days, this was filmed by Prime & NBN TV as it happened. Only Prime showed on the news. .

Recorded noise levels of 98 decibels in Salt Ash & Tanilba Bay [hearing damage, specially children].

Is the danger proved?


What are the politicians doing about it ?

So far we haven’t been able to find a politician who is willing to go against anything that RAAF Base Williamtown wants.

Is there a cover up?

I and many others believe there is [some say they have proof].

Who are the supporters?

Greens political party, [info on website] plus hundreds of people who live in the areas mentioned above and the previous Mayor of Port Stephens Council, Steve Busteed.

Who are the detractors?

The NSW state member for Port Stephens, John Bartlett, a Raafie from way back [ his quote ], David Kemp Federal Minister for Environment, tells lies about what his department has said; Bob Baldwin our local Federal; member who claims to be trying to make a fair balance between the needs of the residents & the needs of the RAAF. Unfortunately the needs of the RAAF always win & we always lose; The RAAF & the Defence Dept, the hierarchy in Canberra all believe what ever the RAAF tell them.

What are the facts?

The facts are: The RAAF are using 5000 homes as a bombing range and have targets within one kilometre of residents homes and over the past years have expanded with bigger planes, & more planes.

What other media outlets have you contacted?

E-mails to ACA (A Current Affair) & Prime TV, letters to the editor, in several newspapers no replies from them and that was several weeks ago.

Do you know of corruption involved?

We believe there is corruption involved ie RAAF personel trying to blame residents for things like tying explosives on to helium balloons etc..

What needs to be done about it?

Australia has plenty of open spaces where people do not live. The RAAF have fast aircraft and can go anywhere to practice. We need someone with enough morals and guts to tell the RAAF what to do. N0 other country in the world does this to their own people. [I believe Germany now goes to a desert in the United States to do their air to ground weapons training].


Links Remove Salt Ash Air Weapons Range Department of Defence Royal Australian Air Force Greenpeace Australia Pacific Human Rights Watch A Current Affair

Editors comment: The problem appears very real to me. As a former member of the Australian Army Reserve (most improved recruit - 1989 - 1991), and fromer Air Cadet, I have an appricition for "both sides of the story". Both parties have their own needs and requirments. Unfortunatly, HEALTH of the residents looks to be at risk.