The West Australian government today passed a Bill that ensures the permanent closure of the town of Wittenoom in the Pilbara region.
WA Lands Minister John Carey announced the closure today with the Wittenoom Closure Bill.
“The passing of the Wittenoom Closure Bill is a significant step in resolving this longstanding industrial tragedy that will protect public health and put an end to a dark period in our state’s history,” he says.
The town became contaminated after blue asbestos mining began in the 1930s, and now exists as the largest contaminated site in the southern hemisphere, comprising some 50,000 hectares.
“The mining of asbestos at Wittenoom has had such a devastating and long-term impact on the lives of so many Western Australian people and families,” he says.
The area was previously something of a tourist destination, however with the passing of this Bill visiting the area will no longer be a possibility.
“Despite the very clear health risks of travelling to the area, people have continued to visit the site but this new legislation means there will be nothing left for people to visit.”
As of November 2021, only two residents remained in the area.