WA Election: #DustReports

#DustReports are a useful tool to “sterilise” land or places in Western Australia for the benefit of the end user, usually the State Government or big business.

Let’s change the way #DustReports are being used. If there’s dust, put it in a container.

Recently the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) proposed a Kwinana industrial air quality buffer zone in the Mandogalup area citing potential health and amenity reasons emanating from #DustReports.

Mandogalup is located off the Kwinana Freeway near Rowley Road and Anketell Road south of Perth:

EPA #DustReports used to propose a buffer zone in yellow
EPA #DustReports used to propose a buffer zone in yellow

The EPA are consulting with the community using a series of questions relating to dust.  Click here to go to the questionnaire.

Although I am not a resident of Mandogalup, I have first hand experience of #DustReports being used to stop development and rezoned areas of my home town of Port Hedland.

My submission to the EPA on the proposed Mandogalup industrial air quality buffer zone reads as follows:

I am concerned for communities like Mandogalup where #DustReports are being used to scare people, change the zoning of an area, and to sterilise the use of an area where a community exists.

This practice of releasing #DustReports without preventive measures has gone on for too long. The practice dates back to the town of Wittenoom where dust reports were used to avoid responsibility for the cleanup of asbestos tailings, and to close the town down. Wittenoom was voted the most scenic town by travelers in 1968, yet was treated with distain by government and CSR and has never been cleaned up. It remains a blight on Western Australia’s history and tourism to the Pilbara.

More recently #DustReports are being used by the Port Hedland Port Authority (PHPA) to scare the community of Port Hedland. Housing for families has been sterilised into single person FIFO and family homes abandoned because the PHPA refuse to put dust emitting activities into containers. The PHPA and the government are enabling poor industry practice to exist to drive out the Port Hedland community from the heritage and character area of the town, the West End. The State Government’s approach to any #DustReport should be the Esperance approach, not buffer zones to scare off the community.

The best use of #DustReports can be found in Esperance. In 2007 #DustReports showed a high level of lead dust in the community of Esperance. The port was closed after lead dust was found. The community were not forced to leave. The company put lead in containers and hey presto, no dust, the port was reopened and the community lived happily ever after.

If there are #DustReports for the Mandogalup community, use the Esperance approach and put it in a container.

And fix Port Hedland and Wittenoom too. Clean up the activities of the Port Hedland Port Authority and let communities co-exist with industry.

The appropriate land uses in the Mandogalup area are residential, rural and industry to co-exist.

Any hint of industry dust in #DustReports should be dealt with at the source, not by putting up a buffer zone to hide it which could be masking other undesirable and polluting activities.

Julie Matheson for Western Australia

Places in Western Australia affected by #DustReports:

  1. The town of Wittenoom.
  2. The port of Esperance
  3. The port of Port Hedland
  4. The community of Mandogalup

P.S Esperance Port Authority were fined $525,000 after pleading guilty to charges of lead pollution and emitting nickel odour. Click here:



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