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The Community vehicle recycling project involved the recovery and recycling of unwanted and abandoned vehicles on remote Indigenous communities in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia. The project also aimed to improve community awareness of the health risks and environmental hazards posed by these vehicles in the environment, for example, danger to children and a breeding site for vermin, thereby helping to prevent future dumping of abandoned vehicles.
East Kimberley Community Development Employment Projects staff undertook the project, which was initially negotiated with the Shire of Wyndham and East Kimberley, as a result of concerns raised by Shire environmental health workers. Issues attributed to abandoned vehicles include dangers to children, glass, breeding sites for vermin, leaching of oils and fluid into groundwater sources, and the aesthetics of vehicles around residential sites.
Staff visited sites to confirm with Elders and Traditional Owners which vehicles were to be removed. Once this negotiation was completed each vehicle to be removed was sprayed with a red cross. If no claims of ownership were received by the community representatives after a time of about 3-4 weeks, vehicles were removed. Following pickup, most vehicles were delivered to Shire waste centres at Kununurra and Wyndham. Due to the distance associated with a few of the outstations, some vehicles were relocated to community waste sites.
Overall the project was deemed highly successful, and there have been community enquiry about similar projects being undertaken at Halls Creek. Shire estimates indicated a possible 700 plus vehicles which need removal. The opportunity therefore exists to engage in this undertaking again.
Abstract adapted from the East Kimberley Community Development Employment Projects and the Department of Environment and Conservation Waste Authority
Department of Environment and Conservation
168 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000
Ph: (08) 6467 5325