Department of Local Government and Regional Development
Government of Western Australia
Ref: # 671-06



Geotechnical and engineering consultants GHD and Parsons Brinckerhoff recently compiled a detailed report into the nature and extent of asbestos contamination in the Wittenoom area in the Pilbara, north Western Australia.

The resultant report concluded that there was a medium to extreme risk for potential tourists who visit the area in and around Wittenoom to be exposed to airborne asbestos dust, which may result in mesothelioma, asbestosis, or lung cancer. The Department of Health, who independently reviewed this report, expressed the view that the exposure and risks identified in the report represent an unacceptable public health risk.

The Government of Western Australia is proceeding with the closure of Wittenoom. To date, Wittenoom’s status as a townsite has been removed, the electricity has been shut off, the postal service has ceased operation and water has been restricted to permanent residences. Any accommodation offered is unlicensed and is believed to be functioning without the appropriate environmental health permits.

It is important that backpackers and visitors to the area are aware of the present risks associated with asbestos contamination in the Wittenoom area, and should be urged to find alternate travel destinations in the Pilbara region. Information can be found at

As the agency responsible for implementing the Government’s policy on Wittenoom, the Department of Local Government and Regional Development seeks your support in preventing unnecessary health risks to tourists and possible future litigation by those who are victims of the associated diseases by discontinuing advertisement for Wittenoom on your website. If it is impossible to remove the reference to Wittenoom, it would be appreciated if you could provide information to potential visitors by directing them to

Should you have any questions or would like more information, please feel free to contact me at: 61 89217 1406 or 1800 620 511.

Yours sincerely

Jillian West

For More Infomation, See:
1) Original Letter (Image)
2) Western Australia Gov't Website
3) Wittenoom Official Website

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