John Bowler

John Bowler

Former Minister for Local Government; Employment Protection; Racing and Gaming; Goldfields-Esperance and Great Southern

    Industry support for Burrup air quality monitoring

    15/06/2006 1:15 PM

    Air quality monitoring on the Burrup Peninsula, initiated by the Western Australian Government, has been extended.

    Resources Minister John Bowler today announced an extension to the program being conducted by the CSIRO, as part of a multi-faceted scientific investigation aimed at establishing if industrial emissions have had any effect on Aboriginal rock art located on and around the Burrup.

    Local industries have agreed to contribute $400,000 to the project, which will double the time spent on air monitoring to four years. Initially the project was going to monitor air quality in the first and fourth years of the study.

    “This is a logical extension of the initial Government-funded program and will ensure results remain valid as industry undergoes a period of investment and growth,” Mr Bowler said.

    “The Burrup is home to one of the world’s largest collections of indigenous rock art.

    “It also houses some of Australia’s largest industries, including the North West Shelf Gas Project, Pilbara Iron, Dampier Salt, the new Burrup Fertilisers project, and the busy Port of Dampier, one of Australia’s largest tonnage ports.”

    Preliminary data from the first year of air quality monitoring has shown concentrations of key potential pollutants measured in the industrial part of the peninsula were considerably lower than concentrations measured in cities in Australia and around the world.

    “There were elevated levels of particulates (dust) in areas close to the major industrial sources of dust, but most areas of the Burrup had levels typical of the whole Pilbara region,” the Minister said.

    The air monitoring is a component of the work being undertaken by CSIRO on behalf of the Burrup Rock Art Monitoring Management Committee, chaired by Professor Frank Murray of Murdoch University, a former board member of the Environmental Protection Authority.

    “The program is being carried out by some of Australia’s best scientists using the latest high-tech equipment, and will investigate concerns which have been raised about possible effects of industrial emissions,” Mr Bowler said.

    “The methods and results are being progressively peer reviewed by leading scientists around the world.

    “In addition to the air quality monitoring, CSIRO is studying artificial fumigation of rock surfaces as well as colour changes and microbiological aspects of the petroglyphs.

    “CSIRO is also investigating natural processes and emissions that might degrade the rock art over time.

    “The Carpenter Government is committed to the ongoing protection and preservation of the Burrup Rock Art.”

    Reports on the monitoring program will be published every six months.

    Minister's office: 9222 9699