Jon Ford

Jon Ford

Minister for Employment Protection; Regional Development; Fisheries; the Kimberley, Pilbara and Gascoyne

    New report into Wittenoom's asbestos risks

    20/06/2007 11:01 AM

    Regional Development Minister Jon Ford today released results from the latest report into asbestos contamination at Wittenoom and how to manage associated risks.

    Mr Ford said the report clearly demonstrated that the risks for most types of land users of various sites in and around Wittenoom were deemed medium to high risk.

    “The Department of Health has independently examined the report and indicated that these levels of risk of exposure to asbestos contamination represent an unacceptable public health risk,” he said.

    “The fact that Wittenoom continues to attract people who are then potentially exposed to an unacceptable health risk is untenable.”

    The Minister also announced that Wittenoom was no longer a designated townsite and had been degazetted.

    “The State Government, after consultation with the Shire of Ashburton, has finalised the process to remove Wittenoom’s status as a townsite,” Mr Ford said.

    The removal of the townsite status will assist in progressing the closure of the town by allowing various actions, including the Shire of Ashburton closing local roads that provide access to contaminated areas.

    Since the announcement in May 2006 that the Government would progress the closure of the town, three residents have sold their property and moved, and 17 vacant lots are currently being purchased. Negotiations are under way for the acquisition of a further nine properties. Only eight residents, who live in six homes, remain in Wittenoom.

    Mr Ford said a department representative met with residents last week to discuss the options available to residents in assisting them to relocate from Wittenoom.

    Copies of the Non-Technical Summary are available from the Department of Local Government and Regional Development’s website at

    Minister's office - 9213 7200