Killing weeds, spreading weeds

Mount Alexander Shire decided last week to continue using Glyphosate as part of its weed killing programs. The chemical is a constituent of the widely used weedkiller Roundup. There is evidence that, at least in some usages, it may cause serious health problems, including cancer: courts in the US have recently awarded huge damages against producer Bayer Montsanto because of the health impacts on workers heavily involved in using the chemical; and legal and political wrangles in Europe have increased pressure on agricultural producers to come up with an alternative.

Stinkwort on a Castlemaine roadside: it’s a pity Council is controlling weeds and apparently spreading them at the same time.


Glyphosate is, however, still authorised for use in Australia, and research is not conclusive about the level at which it becomes harmful not only to people, but to soil fertility.

In the mean time, here’s a simpler weed control challenge for the shire: how about we stop spreading weeds around on our machines?

A very large proportion of local roads which have undergone works of some kind in recent years have been infested with Stinkwort. It’s very clear that the weed has been spread on council machinery.

According to the late Ern Perkins’s Castlemaine Plant List, Stinkwort ‘ is a noxious weed and listed Restricted in central Victoria.  It grows strongly during the dry late summer months when most other vegetation is dormant. The plant taints dairy products and meat, can cause stock death by poisoning and bowel damage by the fluffy seed heads, and can cause dermatitis in humans.’

FOBIF has been hammering this drum for nearly ten years now. Protocols for cleaning machinery are pretty accessible. We’ve written to Council to suggest they be acted on.

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2 Responses to Killing weeds, spreading weeds

  1. ben laycock says:

    Using glyphosate is a crime against humanity. It will not be long before anyone using it will be successfully sued for millions of dollars.
    If you go to Greenmedinfo you can find hundreds of clinical trials of the toxic effects of glyphosate.
    This one is particularily disturbing, finding that glyphosate is carcinogenic at the minutest concentrations. It can be found at these concentratins in every part of the world, including the aquafiers.
    The silver lining is that once it is banned throughout the world, the only alternative will be organic farming.

  2. Chris Hooper says:

    So glad word of the petition I presented to Council and their decision to continue using Glyphosate has spread. Even a bit in the Castlemaine Mail re petition, Council decision and noting the big compensation cases in the US. I have a letter in this week’s C Mail re this. Someone said if we can send a legal letter to the Council re if any of the people who signed the petition… were “injured” by the use of Glyphosate/Roundup then they could sue the Council due to their decision on this…..Anyone know a legal person who could/would do this?

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