A rural landowner and councillor in Nillumbik Shire says her own council’s proposal to restrict the use of glyphosate and ban its sale is “moronic”.

Key points:

  • Nillumbik Shire Council is proposing a ban on the sale of glyphosate
  • A councillor and farmers have panned the proposal
  • Public comment is being sought

The proposal is contained within a local law review discussion paper from the council, on the northern fringe of Melbourne. 

The discussion paper is currently out for public comment.

Glyphosate, a herbicide used to kill weeds, has been under siege internationally over allegations it causes cancer, but the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has concluded that it has no carcinogenic risk.

Proposal ‘makes no sense’  

Cr Karen Egan, who comes from a farming family and is one of only two rural councillors, said the proposal had no scientific backing.

“It’s like a lot of thought bubbles we get from greenies, it’s all about this sort of Bambi syndrome and they believe all the mantras, but they don’t look at the science,” she said.

“The science says glyphosate is no more risky than frying food at high heat or … drinking coffee.”

Cr Egan said Nillumbik Shire Council was a difficult place to be a farmer.  

“There’s so much that these uneducated people don’t know about and they make these statements and people just believe it, they don’t look at the science — it’s incredibly frustrating.

“People need to make submissions and let the councillors know that they’re not going to stand for this nonsense.”

Local government ‘over-reach’

Ashley Fraser, president of the Victorian Farmers Federation Grains Group, said he was stunned to hear of the Nillumbik proposal.

“A local suburban council doesn’t have the regulatory oversight of ag chemicals in Australia, so as a council they’re really over-reaching their jurisdiction and expertise.

“In Australia we have a science-based regulatory system that’s overseen by the APVMA and they have deemed that glyphosate is OK to use.”

Mr Fraser said he was concerned about the precedent the proposal could set if it became a local law.

Mr Fraser said it also highlighted the need for more education about what happens on farms.

“As a farming community we need to have more of an education process to non-farming people about what we do and how we do it and why we do it.”

Nillumbik Shire Council and Mayor Peter Perkins have been contacted for comment.

Posted , updated 

‘A slippery slope’: Farmers ridicule proposal to ban glyphosate
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