The Western Australian government says a dark chapter in the history of WA will come to an end, with the passing of a bill in State Parliament that will see the permanent closure of the former asbestos mining town of Wittenoom.
The long-awaited Bill will now allow the state government to acquire and demolish all the remaining properties and infrastructure in the town. Wittenoom in remote Northern WA, was taken off the map in 2007 but visitors have continued to visit Wittenoom despite the very clear health risks of travelling to the area. However, this new legislation would mean the state can act to ensure there will be no longer any buildings to visit.
Lands Minister John Carey said he hopes the final closure will bring an end to what he termed “idiotic behaviour”. He further stated residents who are forced to move away under the new law would be compensated with $350,000 from the state.
In the past, at least 1200 former Wittenoom residents and workers have died from lung cancer and mesothelioma and their families have now expressed their support in the closure of the town.