Come clean on plans for Wittenoom
Once again, the State Government is going in hard to force the last few residents out of Wittenoom (Draft law for Wittenoom acquisition, demolition, 16/12).
In 2007, the Government removed all power to the town and has over the years let the roads to Wittenoom, and especially into the gorge, fall into disrepair.
Now there is an announcement from Lands Minister Terry Redman to ask State Cabinet for the right to compulsorily acquire 21 freehold land titles owned collectively by six people, three of whom still live in Wittenoom.
The purpose of the acquisition is to demolish what is left of Wittenoom and restrict access to this beautiful and scenic part of the Hamersley Range.
In addition, the Government is hoping to restrict access to the area and discourage tourists who visit the area despite health warnings.
While the Government seeks to discourage tourists (I have been to Wittenoom and the gorge in the hinterland a number of times from 1969-2007) it does not seek to discourage Rio Tinto from building its Koodaideri mine nearby and running the western corridor of its proposed railway through the Wittenoom Asbestos Management Area.
Elsewhere, one Wittenoom resident has suggested readings of asbestos levels in the air are minimal.
The director-general of Lands, however, is adopting a far more cautious, although absurd, approach, saying “we only go into that town with moon suits on and we are trying to discourage anyone else from going in there”.
There are lots of uranium mines around WA where moon suits would be far more appropriate, with radioactive tailings blowing around the landscape, than at Wittenoom, where the tailings have mostly been covered up by soil.
The Government has something to hide about its proposals for Wittenoom and it should come clean. Richard Titelius, Ballajura