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The Shire of Broome is deciding whether to demolish or restore four condemned Indigenous houses in the community of Mallingbar.
The Shire said roof trusses have been eaten by white-ants, the houses do not have taps, windows and working sewerage systems, and electrical wires hang from the walls.
The Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service has inspected conditions in the community, which sits atop Kennedy Hill, and agrees that action needs to be taken urgently.
'By having those houses still up, not boarded up like they've said they've done, poses a huge risk particularly, to children,' chief executive Henry Councillor said.
'If there are children running around inside those houses, that poses a real huge risk in regards to people getting electric shocks, children getting hookworm and ringworm, and all sorts of chronic disease.'
While all agree the living conditions are unacceptable, there is confusion over who is responsible. The houses are on land owned by the Aboriginal Lands Trust (ALT) and leased to the Mallingbarr Aboriginal Corporation. In 2010, three of the properties were deemed to be unfit for human habitation, and the WA Department of Housing says it boarded up the buildings at the request of the residents.
Source: ABC News