Nats attack call to ban glyphosate

Daryna ZadvirnaNarrogin Observer
Wheatbelt fence.
Camera IconWheatbelt fence. Credit: The West Australian

A call to ban glyphosate by a Labor MLA Cassie Rowe has been slammed by WA Nationals for dealing a blow to agriculture and horticulture in WA.

The Member for Belmont labelled the popular herbicide as the “asbestos of our time” in State Parliament last week.

But the Member for Roe Peter Rundle said banning the weed controller would unnecessarily impact on primary producers, local governments and gardeners.

“Preventing the use of glyphosate would have significant financial implications as treating weeds without herbicides decreases efficiency and massively increases production times,” he said.

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“The member’s concerns about the use of glyphosate were alarmist, misinformed and not supported by scientific findings.

“And comparing it to asbestos — a carcinogenic material responsible for the death of thousands of West Australians — is quite frankly outrageous.”

Nationals WA agriculture spokesman Colin de Grussa said a 2016 review of glyphosate by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority concluded responsible glyphosate use was safe.

“This review considered the weight of evidence based on 264 studies and found that exposure to glyphosate does not pose a carcinogenic risk to humans and that there was no scientific base for revising the use of glyphosate in Australia,” he said.

“For members of the Labor Party to pick and choose evidence to suit their own agenda while ignoring major studies into glyphosate is incredibly misleading.”

In a public comment, WA Agricultural Minister Alannah McTiernan said farmers should start looking for an alternative to glyphosate, despite it being classed as safe by regulators, to shift away from the industry’s reliance on the weed killer.

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