Not done and dusted

Sophia ConstantineNorth West Telegraph

A small group of Port Hedland residents turned out at the weekend to make clear their stance on the continuing dust saga.

Their march, held over two days in the town’s West End, comes after public submissions for the Port Hedland Dust Management Taskforce Report came to a close.

The report was released to the public in August and comes after the release of the Department of Health’s Health Risk Assessment in 2016, which found evidence of health effects from dust.

One of the recommendations set within the report was a Special Control Area over the West End of Port Hedland, to prevent further population growth west of Taplin Street.

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It also recommended exporters continue to reduce dust emissions at the port.

Jim Henneberry.
Camera IconJim Henneberry.

Nationals Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Jacqui Boydell said Port Hedland’s ability to diversify its economy would be hindered until a solution to the dust problem was found.

In a submission to the Port Hedland Dust Management Taskforce, Ms Boydell said the dust problem was created by industry and required an industry-led solution.

“The Port Hedland community was established some 70 years before the first tonne of iron ore was exported,” she said. “Why should residential development and economic expansion suffer because the companies cannot control the dust they emit.”

Jenny Higgins (front) marching with about outside BHP.
Camera IconJenny Higgins (front) marching with about outside BHP. Credit: Sophia Constantine.

The proposed changes have prompted an angry response from some residents, including Kevin Clifton, who grew up in Port Hedland.

Mr Clifton, who was among those protesting, said the issue had been ignored for 52 years.

“The increase in tonnage increases the amount of dust in this town,” he said.

“The dust is not to blame, it’s the people,” he said.

“I would like to see a change in peoples attitudes.”

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