Four homes torn down

Glenn CordingleyBroome Advertiser
A house on Kennedy Hill in Broome is demolished.
Camera IconA house on Kennedy Hill in Broome is demolished. Credit: Jakeb Waddell

Four houses on a town-based Aboriginal reserve in Broome have been demolished after people living in the properties were voluntarily relocated.

The remaining three houses at the Mallingbarr community — better known as Kennedy Hill, on the outskirts of Chinatown — are occupied by about 14 residents.

The State Government authorised the demolition works in conjunction with several of its departments, which provided assistance to households requiring relocation.

The Mallingbarr Aboriginal Corporation holds a 99-year lease on Kennedy Hill with the Aboriginal Lands Trust.

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In October, the Shire of Broome inspected all seven houses on the parcel of land bound by Carnarvon Street and Dampier Terrace.

Five were issued notices under the Health Act 1911, requiring that the owner clean or repair them.

The council declared two houses unfit for habitation.

They were demolished last week, along with an additional two houses at the request of the Mallingbarr Aboriginal Corporation because the body lacked the resources to repair or maintain them.

Shire president Harold Tracey said works at the site had been an ongoing issue with the ALT, the Department of Communities and the council for several years.

“We are pleased to see tenants at Kennedy Hill being given an opportunity to move into decent accommodation,” he said.

“This will be one of the final chapters for people who have been living in third-world conditions in Broome.”

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt said thevoluntary relocation from Kennedy Hill and the demolition of properties not fit for human habitation were “a positive development for all of Broome”.

“Social and affordable housing remains a key issue in Broome and there remains more work to be done, but this is undeniably a step forward,” he said.

About 3000 Aboriginal people live in 37 town-based reserves across 20 towns in WA. They were established decades ago to accommodate Aboriginal people who had moved off country and pastoral stations.

Generators, lighting and disposable stoves were provided to the Mallingbarr community — located between sand dunes overlooking Roebuck Bay and expensive apartments in the CBD — in September, 2016 after Horizon Power disconnected the electricity amid safety concerns.

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