Draft law for Wittenoom acquisition, demolition
■ The WA Government is looking at compulsory acquisition and demolition of the last standing homes in the asbestos-contaminated town of Wittenoom.
Having previously tried to buy out the handful of residents who still call the Pilbara town home, the Government is pursuing draft legislation to allow it to seize the land from owners.
Nationals WA leader and Lands Minister Terry Redman has taken a request to Cabinet for draft legislation to compulsorily acquire 21 freehold lots collectively owned by six people, three of whom still live in the town.
Under existing laws, the Government can only compulsorily acquire land for public works.
In demolishing what remains of a once-thriving mining town, the intention is to restrict access to the site and discourage tourists who visit despite health warnings.
Wittenoom Gorge was Australia’s major supplier of blue asbestos between 1943 and 1966 and mine tailings were used for the town’s roads, carparks, playgrounds and fields.
Since the health risks of asbestos came to light the mine has been shut down, the town de-gazetted and the entire area classified as contaminated and not suitable for “any form of human occupation”.