Council report into glyphosate options shows ‘forward-thinking’

A report compiled on the viability of alternatives to the use of glyphosate will ensure Dubbo Regional Council is ready to make a change in the future if required, Chair of the Infrastructure, Community and Recreation Committee, Councillor Stephen Lawrence said.

The report was presented to the November meeting of the Infrastructure, Community and Recreation Committee. It found there were limited options available to replace the use of glyphosate at this time, with financial costs and increased labour a major inhibitor.

Council resolved that the consideration to alternatives continue and where possible, trials take place to gather further evidence of applicability to Council’s context.

The report was compiled after a notice of motion from Councillor John Ryan at the Ordinary Meeting of Council held 27 August 2018.

Councillor Lawrence said Council had shown itself to be proactive and forward thinking by undertaking the investigation.

“I commend Councillor Ryan for bringing it to the attention of Council. I believe this issue arose for our consideration as a consequence of a court case in the United States where a multi-million award was made on the basis that a jury determined this substance had caused cancer for a plaintiff,” Councillor Lawrence said.

“I think it’s good that fairly shortly after that court case rendered that verdict, that so far away here in Dubbo we are considering what it means. America has a comparable court system and I think it serves us well to consider that.

“The fact that someone has proven to the satisfaction of a court in a country like that that this substance is harmful in this particular way means serious consideration will be given to the science.”

The report considered a number of glyphosate-free non-selective chemicals, alternative non-selective herbicides, and non-chemical options.

Many were found to only be applicable for small-scale application and were labour intensive, while others came a significant financial cost, with some more than 10 times more expensive.

Councillor Lawrence said it was important that Council monitor the progress of alternatives and be ready to make a transition when the technology improves.

“The recommendation that has been made is sensible in that the financial penalty for moving away from glyphosate means it is not possible but in that context, it is good we have taken steps to consider the use of alternatives in a financially responsible way,” Councillor Lawrence said.

Last Edited: 13 Nov 2018

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