Chance for community to have say about dust issues and air quality

Alexander ScottNorth West Telegraph
Port Hedland dust levels have concerned residents for years.
Camera IconPort Hedland dust levels have concerned residents for years. Credit: Alex Massey.

Several community consultation sessions are set to be held in Port Hedland next week, ahead of a State Government decision on the town’s air quality monitoring network.

Representatives from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will be basing themselves at the Colin Matheson Pavilion from next Thursday to address concerns about Port Hedland’s Dust Program.

The Department will take control of the Ambient Air Monitoring program from the Port Hedland Industry Council as part of recommendations from the 2016 Dust Taskforce report.

DWER director general Mike Rowe said a review of the air monitoring network would help the department better understand Port Hedland’s dust issues.

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“We are taking a whole-of-government approach to Port Hedland’s dust management through this five-year program, which aims to decrease community dust issues without jeopardising the industries underpinning the Pilbara’s prosperity,” he said.

Port Hedland Community Progress Association chief executive Jim Henneberry said it was good that the Government was taking over the monitoring of dust levels but was concerned about the amount of time it was taking.

“In 2018, the Premier announced he was going to switch the monitoring from industry to DWER, we just thought it would be implemented a lot quicker then it has been,” he said.

“We’ve gone another 12 months in a highly polluted area, and we want to ensure that they are going to implement the World Health Organisation ambient air guidelines over Port Hedland.”

Port Hedland Industry Council chief executive said DWER had met with the PHIC and site operators in October to discuss the transfer of responsibility for the network.

“The PHIC supports open communication and regular updates around the Network transition to all stakeholders, including the local community,” she said.

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