Plight brought up in Parliament as fenthion reprieve nears end

Suzanna Matla with a picture of herself and her sisters Astrid and Desiree . Picture: Emma Reeves www.communitypix.com.au d402182
Suzanna Matla with a picture of herself and her sisters Astrid and Desiree . Picture: Emma Reeves www.communitypix.com.au d402182

After the Community Newspaper Group published stories over the past six months about the growers’ plight, Canning MHR Don Randall spoke in Parliament last week about pressures on his constituents.

He said growers were facing similar problems to industries such as manufacturing, such as the high dollar.

He also spoke about the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority’s (APVMA) push to ban the pesticide fenthion and mentioned the news stories on the Byl and Casotti families.

‘They have decided that enough is enough and that their best option is to leave their orchard and have it chopped up as real estate,’ he said.

Mr Randall said he was pressing new WA agriculture minister Ken Baston to understand the ban’s implications.

He said if domestic growers could not stay competitive, overseas competitors would take over.

Federal opposition agriculture spokesman John Cobb has said the coalition’s position is not to ban fenthion outright, but to work with industry to establish acceptable levels of use.

The Government may not ban fenthion outright either; the APVMA is waiting for results of residue tests on fruits from the past season.

The partial reprieve WA growers won from the ban last October, allowing them two sprays, will expire this October.

The APVMA will base its decision on this data, and if it is not provided by August the suspension, including WA growers’ temporary permit, will continue for another year.

Mr Randall was speaking in response to Murray MHR Sharman Stone’s motion that the House further support the Australian food processing industry.