DUST CONTAMINATION — PORT HEDLAND
557. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the Minister for Environment:
My question is without notice. I refer to the ongoing issue
of dust contamination in Port Hedland, in particular the Port Hedland
Industries Council annual report 2017–18 that states two of the
dust-monitoring stations have recorded their highest level of concentrations
above the ambient air quality national environment protection measure standards
compared with all previous years of monitoring.
(1) Is the
minister aware of the consistent and continued exceedance of World Health
Organization and NEPM particulate matter limits in Port Hedland?
(2) If yes to
(1), what steps is the minister taking to ensure that government and industry
work together to reduce the levels of dust pollution in Port Hedland?
(3) What extra
dust-mitigation strategies will the government implement to reduce dust
pollution, as output through the port continues to rise?
(4) Will the
government commit to undertake any studies into the long-term effects of the
dust on the health of those who are continually exposed to it?
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON
I thank the honourable member for her question. It is a very
detailed question, and, if the member expects a detailed answer, I ask her to
put the question on notice. However, can I say that it is no surprise to
anybody in this place that Port Hedland is a very significant community in Western
Australia. It has a big operating port—one of the biggest bulk-handling
ports in the world. There are issues with dust in that community. Under the
last government, a health assessment was done. This government is currently
looking at how we might deal with those issues of dust in that community. The
reality is that it is a working port, and people are living in the vicinity of
the port. My Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is working with
other state government departments that have a keen interest and, indeed, a role
in fixing this issue, and together we will come up with a solution.
In terms of the member's in-depth questions, if the
member wants to place those on notice, I will get her in-depth answers.