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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 557 asked in the Legislative Council on 5 June 2019 by Hon Jacqui Boydell

Minister responding: Hon S.N. Dawson
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

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 replied:

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.