West End buyback scheme off to strong start

Alexander ScottNorth West Telegraph
Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel
Camera IconPilbara MLA Kevin Michel Credit: Alicia Perera

Homeowners in Port Hedland West End could have their properties purchased by industry as part of a housing buyback scheme being pushed by Member for Pilbara Kevin Michel.

In the latest episode of Port Hedland’s iron-ore dust saga, Mr Michel, pictured, said he had been meeting with residents, industry and government about the town’s iron-ore dust pollution levels.

He said an industry-led voluntary buyout scheme had to be part of the solution.

“I do recognise that some residents will want to leave the West End, and may not be in a financial position to do so without an optional buyout scheme,” he said.

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“Others will want to stay in the West End, and I completely support their decision, but the option to leave must be available through a voluntary industry-led buyout scheme.”

Port Hedland Industries Council chief executive Kirsty Danby said industry supported an approach that was working with the community and all relevant government agencies to get the best possible outcome for the community and industry.

“Industry understands there is uncertainty around the implementation of the taskforce recommendations and will continue to work with the WA Planning Commission and relevant agencies to develop a thorough planning strategy for the Port Hedland community,” she said. “Industry has been proactively involved in finding solutions to minimise dust, implement improvements, and has invested millions of dollars as recognised by the taskforce.”

Environment Minister Peter Dawson said the responsibility for monitoring dust in Port Hedland was being transferred to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and that dust levels in the West End were being treated as a priority by his department.

“We’re focused on tackling the issue of dust in the West End and finding out the source,” he said.

“I understand some work has recently been completed by the port authority in relation to where the dust might be coming from, so we look forward to receiving that and considering all those issues.”

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