City of Wanneroo reviews glyphosate use in weed control

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THE City of Wanneroo will review its use of weed killer glyphosate with a view to stop using it amid community concerns about its safety.

Mayor Tracey Roberts, who is up for re-election next month, successfully put forward a motion on notice to review the chemical’s use for weed control at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Mrs Roberts said she felt a review was needed after reading about community concerns and debate on the use of glyphosate.

“I am becoming increasingly concerned of the use of this (herbicide) throughout our City,” she said.

A report on her motion said the use and safety of glyphosate had been questioned due to several publications, including from the World Health Organisation, the International Agency for Research on Cancer and most recently through several legal cases in the US against the glyphosate manufacturer Monsanto and Bayer Crop Science.

Elected members unanimously supported the motion for administration to review glyphosate use and report back to the council by March 2020.

Several councillors spoke for the motion, including Cr Linda Aitken who said she wanted to see costs of other weed removal plans and details of evidence researched as part of the review.

Cr Dot Newton said the legal cases involved people working with the chemical rather than those living in areas where it was used, and the product was available on supermarket shelves.

Supporting the review, Cr Frank Cvitan said glyphosate had been used widely in market gardening.

Cr Lewis Flood, who raised concerns about glyphosate at council meetings before he was elected in 2017, said he was glad to see the review come up.

Administration provided comment that the City’s pesticide management policy, adopted in April, ensured the City met environmental, legal and community obligations by using pesticides in an “environmentally, socially and economically responsible” manner in land it managed.

It said staff had received an average of 20 enquiries a year regarding glyphosate over the past four years.

It said the review could cost $20,000 to hire an external agronomist, which could be accommodated within existing operating budgets.

The report noted there could be impacts on funding needed for alternative weed control products in the future if the review resulted in the City ceasing use of glyphosate.

Assets director Harminder Singh confirmed the City’s website had information about weed control and its no spray list register.

Mr Singh said they also advertised plans to spray in community newspapers and on the City’s website.

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