Today in Question Time, Mark asked the Minister for Health a question about potential health hazards from pollution at Kanmantoo.
The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: On 14 March, my office received a letter from Kanmantoo constituents with significant concerns about potential negative health effects of the persistent stench that emanates from the nearby Neutrog plant, which produces fertiliser from chicken manure. I understand that the minister has been sent the same correspondence, but in fairness it was only two days ago so I expect it might not have reached him personally yet.
The residents explained that the odour is only part of the problem and that the dust and aerosol from the plant is also impacting eye health and skin health of residents, as well as dampening community activity and wellbeing. Some members of the community have reported increased headaches, respiratory issues and nausea, as well negative mental health consequences. In the words of one resident:
It's not just the odour, it's the drift of dust and the air-borne and aerosol pathogens that community members are potentially inhaling and digesting.
…the dust, bioaerosol and pathogen matter is sticking to clothing, especially clothing that is hung outside to dry, and it can make clothes smell and feel gritty.
Members of this community are unable to socialise. Families, friends and other visitors, do not like to visit, stop or get out of the vehicle due to the odour and health concerns.
I would add that Neutrog's own safety guidelines strongly warn against the inhalation, eye contact, skin contact and ingestion of any amount of their product.
My questions of the minister are:
1. Is the minister concerned about potential health impacts associated with pollution from the Neutrog plant?
2. Will the minister or his department commit to working with the EPA to investigate potential community health hazards associated with this facility?
The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing): I thank the member for his question. At the end of his explanation, his second question actually touched on what I was going to say in response, which is that the responsibility for environmental health issues is something that my department shares with the Environment Protection Authority. We have long established partnerships in a whole range of domains, perhaps best known in relation to the Port Pirie lead program, but right across the state.
The honourable member is certainly correct. I haven't read that correspondence yet, but certainly I provide an undertaking to him not only to read the correspondence but to engage with my honourable colleague the Minister for Environment and Water in providing him with a response.