THE Port Hedland Dust Management Taskforce report recommends that exporters continue to reduce dust emissions at the Port and be subject to more intense, risk-based regulation, as well as identification and mitigation of other dust sources in the town.
It also recommends that a special control area is established to prevent population growth close to the Port.
The report was released this week for public comment, which closes on October 6.
The port is one of the largest bulk handling ports in the world, and throughput volumes have increased rapidly in recent years to a record 500.9m tonnes in the 2016-17 financial year – an increase of 9% from the previous year.
The dust issue is compounded by the presence of homes and businesses near Port Hedland’s West End, and areas near the port sometimes record elevated dust levels due to port activity.
In 2009, the state Premier established the Port Hedland Dust Management Taskforce to co-ordinate and plan for dust management in the area.
Western Australia regional development minister Alannah MacTiernan said the recommendations would have a major impact on the future of Port Hedland.
“The government will work with local residents and businesses to achieve the best possible outcome for the community, acknowledging that iron ore exports underpin the economic prosperity of the town,” she said.
“The State Government will provide a formal response to this report based on public submissions received and the outcomes of our deliberative democracy forum.”
The report follows the release of the Department of Health’s Health Risk Assessment in 2016, which found sufficient evidence of health effects from dust to warrant dust management controls and land-use planning to reduce exposure.