LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News vol 11 Number 2, December 2010, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times (ISSN 1440-4966) & Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Guest Editor, Dr Chrissie Pickin. Editor-in-Chief: Anne Roberts

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Response from the Mayor

By Darryl Gerrity, West Coast Mayor

As a Strahan councillor and now as a West Coast councillor, I have always been sympathetic to pollution or heavy metal claims and have always insisted that they be investigated by the proper, competent and qualified authorities.

This has always been the case, as with the previous Mount Lyell pollution issue and the Gormanston lead poisoning issue. I have insisted on my actions being guided by the relevant community issues, science and findings. My actions following these two cases involved family or personal expense.

My actions in the Rosebery heavy metals issue are no exception.

When I first became aware of the Rosebery issues, I met with the complainants, visited the sites, made fellow councillors aware, and notified the authorities. I also put a motion to the West Coast Council which resulted in a Rosebery Reference Group being set up, which I chair.

At this point in time, many tests have been conducted by the council, the mine and government departments, and advice has been given by independent specialists to the Reference Group. While a technical sub-committee still has to report back to the Reference Group, there is no substantive evidence at present of heavy metal poisoning of Rosebery residents.

There is some evidence of lead in some soil samples, as would be expected in a highly mineralised area such as Rosebery and generally throughout the West Coast. But if proper hygiene principles are followed there should be no detriment to our health. It is a given that the complainants may be ill, but at present there appears to be no evidence to link their illnesses to heavy metal poisoning. As many residents and children have been tested, with no overall health alarm given, except for proper hygiene principles, I am convinced that everything is being done to determine if Rosebery is a health risk. At the time of writing, tests have shown that Rosebery is a safe place to live and work.

It is unfortunate that some scare tactics, claims and personal insults have resulted in economic and social damage to a community that deserves much better. Poor, unbalanced and badly researched journalism has also contributed to the tarnishing of Rosebery’s image.

My hope is that the technical sub-committee results will be positive and that we can then start re-building Rosebery’s morale. I also hope that the affected residents will seek proper medical help for their ailments and we can get on with our respective lives and industries.

In conclusion, I applaud the Rosebery Mine’s and the State Government’s commitment to resolving this issue and its quick response to the concerns of the affected people. I also applaud the Rosebery community’s response, and the residents’ willingness to address issues and be tested for heavy metal poisoning.

I applaud the Rosebery community’s resilience on this issue. The health and wealth of West Coast residents and industries is my prime concern.

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Last Updated 24 January 2012
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