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Date posted: 10 April 2014
A Kimberley Aboriginal community is hoping the building of new houses will prompt a decision to have asbestos-ridden buildings demolished.
The Kurungal Council, which runs the Fitzroy Valley community of Wangkatjungka, has written to the Minister for Housing asking for help to remove two decaying buildings that have exposed asbestos panels.
The Minister's office has responded to say that it will pay to demolish the buildings if the sites are used for planned new federally-funded houses.
Council Chief Executive Officer Viane Watson says the council is hoping that will happen as quickly as possible, as children are being put at risk because the unfenced derelict building is opposite a playground where children frequent.
The Member for Mining and Pastoral, Stephen Dawson, says it is another example of why an audit of asbestos buildings in Aboriginal communities is needed.
'My fear is that in 30 or 40 years we'll have an epidemic of Aboriginal people aged in their 40s who played in these buildings in their younger years and who will find out they've got mesothelioma or other nasty diseases,' he said.
In a written statement, the Department of Housing says a program of works has been undertaken to remove asbestos buildings from communities where new houses are being built. It says while it has no responsibility for the two buildings in question, they will be demolished if the land is required for construction of the planned new houses.
Source: ABC Indigenous