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The Indigenous community of Wangkatjungka in the Fitzroy Valley is hoping the building of new houses in the region will prompt a decision to have asbestos-ridden buildings in close proximity demolished.
The Kurungal Council, which runs the community, 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 CEO Viane Watson says it is hoping that will happen as quickly as possible, as children are being put at risk. 'It sits right opposite a playground where children play and it's not even fenced at the moment. We don't have money to fence it and to keep people out, so it's just been like that for a while,' she said.
The Member for Mining and Pastoral, Stephen Dawson, says it is another example of why an audit of asbestos buildings in Indigenous 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.
Source: ABC Indigenous