Assistant Secretary PFAS Investigation & Management
PFAS Investigation & Management Branch, Infrastructure Division
Department of Defence of Australia
Luke McLeod is a member of the Australian Department of Defence Senior Executive Service and the Assistant Secretary of PFAS Investigation and Management Branch.
For the past two years Luke has led the largest program of detailed environmental investigations in Australia, providing support to affected communities consistent with Government policy, collaborating with Government stakeholders within the Commonwealth and across State/Territory jurisdictions, and, in partnership with industry, identifying and implementing effective management and remediation initiatives.
Luke McLeod joined the Department of Defence as an APS Office Trainee in 1992. Luke spent the beginning of his public service career working in various roles within Resources and Financial Planning Division, Budget & Estimates Branch and Defence Corporate Support – Western Australia. In 2006 Luke was promoted to a Director within Defence Garrison Support and Maintenance where he managed the implementation of Strategic Reform Program initiatives. In 2012 Luke was the leader, and senior spokesperson, for the development of the Future Acquisition Strategy for Base Services, a $10 billion project and in 2016 was promoted in the position of Assistant Secretary PFAS Investigation & Management.
PFAS: Australian Perspectives
Following the earlier detection of PFOS and PFOA in groundwater at two Australian Defence Force Installations, the Australian Department of Defence established a national program of PFAS Environmental investigations in 2015. This program has commenced Detailed Environmental Investigations, including Human Health risk assessments and Ecological risk assessments, at 27 Installations across the country. At the end of 2018, 13 investigations including risk assessments have been completed with the remaining 14 investigations expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
Where investigations have been completed the Installations have transitioned from Investigation sites to Management sites with each site having a PFAS Management Area Plan developed. These plans describe the proposed actions to manage elevated risks arising from PFAS contamination on and from Defence installations. Primarily, these actions will focus on limiting people’s exposure to PFAS and limiting migration of PFAS from Defence installations.
Management actions implemented to date include ground and surface water treatment plants, excavation of high concentration source areas, drainage clearance works and waste water treatment initiatives. Communities surrounding these Defence Installations are expecting timely action on management and remediation activities, and the Australian Department of Defence is seeking to adopt promising and proven technologies which mitigate the risk of migration and commence environmental clean up activities.