2015 January: Cox Peninsula Northern Territory

Decades-old Kenbi land claim held up by $32m clean-up bill for asbestos and pollutants hazard


The Kenbi land claim was lodged in 1979 and 36 years later has still not been fully resolved.

The claim covers the Cox Peninsula, west of Darwin, which had been used by the Commonwealth Government for over 70 years for communications and defence purposes during WWII, with a lighthouse and other government buildings spread over 4,750 hectares of land.

A report by the Department of Finance submitted last month stated that buildings and their surrounding areas on the land are harbouring dangerous levels of asbestos, pesticides, heavy metals and other toxic pollutants, which “pose a significant risk to human health” and represent a “liability for the Commonwealth”.

The area has also been used as a dump for decades, with building debris from Cyclone Tracy in 1974 being offloaded there.

Indigenous elder Tibby Quall, who lives near the Cox Peninsula, said he had never been told by the government or the Northern Land Council (NLC) that the land was polluted.