Australia: Anger over cement dust

Australia: Anger over cement dust
Published: 20 August 2010

Angry southern suburbs residents donned dust masks and protective jumpsuits yesterday during a protest at Parliament House against dust and odour emissions from the Cockburn Cement plant, which they blame for nosebleeds, headaches and breathing problems.

The residents, who have complained of corrosive lime and cement dust from the Munster factory covering their cars and houses, lined the public gallery while local ALP member Fran Logan outlined the problem to Premier Colin Barnett.

Mr Barnett told Parliament he accepted there was a serious problem in the area and the Department of Environment and Conservation had begun a review of Cockburn Cement’s operating licence while the Health Department was trying to determine whether there was a health risk. “We will address this,” he said.

Outside Parliament, Mr Logan said Cockburn Cement had agreed to put a so-called “bag-house filter” over one of its six kilns, which would cost about US$23m, but he and residents were calling on it to spend US$50m to US$80m covering all kilns.

Cockburn Cement WA operations manager Darrin Strange said planning authorities should not have allowed residences within the buffer zone of the plant, built in the 1950s.