Who's poisoning Windimurra?

August 23, 2002 - Greens (WA) MLC Robin Chapple has called on the DEP to do its job and investigate potential vanadium poisoning of leaseholders and workers on Windumurra Station.

Five workers and one child are normally present on the station at any given time, while the homestead is only 4km from the plant.

'We wrote to the Ministers for Health, the Environment, and State Development in mid-July asking for an urgent investigation into whether or not airborne emissions from the nearby vanadium mine were responsible for abnormal results from recent health tests,' Mr Chapple said.

'We have since received a letter from the Health Department indicating that they are taking the matter seriously, but they have been unable to obtain emission data for the mine from the DEP, despite having previously requested it. We've heard nothing back from the Minister for the Environment to indicate that they are concerned about the situation.'

'The Windimurra leaseholders are left with the impossibility of running their station while suffering a range of health complaints. What exactly are they supposed to tell their workforce?'

Mr Chapple indicated that the lack of assistance from the DEP could well be part of a larger pattern of non-enforcement of regulations for which the DEP has been condemned in the past few weeks.

'We have seen at Wagerup, in the Goldfields, at the Cockburn Cement plant and now at Windimurra, that the DEP is a pushover when it comes to enforcing or even monitoring the conditions which they apply to industry. Peoples lives are at risk and we are stuck with a regulator which refuses to regulate.'

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