Glyphosate - the active ingredient in common weed killer Roundup - will stay in use on the Fraser Coast.
Glyphosate - the active ingredient in common weed killer Roundup - will stay in use on the Fraser Coast.

‘Probably cancer-causing’ chemical to stay in use on Coast

A "PROBABLY CARCINOGENIC" chemical will stay in use on the Fraser Coast.

Councillors debated the use of glyphosate - the active ingredient in weed killer Roundup - during yesterday's council meeting.

It came after council staff carried out a herbicide trial on a private rural property in Thinoomba, west of Maryborough.

Mayor George Seymour was the strongest voice in the room, firmly opposing the chemical's use.

"I'm against glyphosate, which in 2015 was declared probably carcinogenic by the World Health Organisation," Cr Seymour said.

He said the chemical had been at the centre of billion-dollar lawsuits against corporate giants like Bayer and Monsanto.

Cr Seymour also pointed to glyphosate reduction policies adopted by other councils, including the Douglas Shire Council in Queensland.

He said they had worked to reduce glyphosate's use in playgrounds and public areas near schools and childcare centres.

Allan Caulfield, manager of public health and biosecurity, addressed the meeting to answer the councillors' questions about the safe use of the chemical.

He said, so long as manufacturer recommendations were followed, glyphosate posed minimal risk.

"It's a bit like our COVID situation," Mr Caulfield said.

"We have many experts, however we always go back to Queensland Health. In our chemical world, we go back to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority and we rely on their expert advice."

Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour and Councillor Jade Wellings both spoke in favour of reducing the council’s use of glyphosate, especially in areas like playgrounds. Photo: Contributed
Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour and Councillor Jade Wellings both spoke in favour of reducing the council’s use of glyphosate, especially in areas like playgrounds. Photo: Contributed

Councillors David Lee and Paul Truscott raised questions about the chemical's use near waterways, with Cr Truscott questioning if it could get into drinking water.

Mr Caulfield said a "frog-friendly" alternative was available if there was a risk of the chemical ending up in waterways, and assured councillors it would not enter the drinking water supply.

Councillor Jade Wellings suggested the council did not have to take an "all or nothing" approach to its use of glyphosate, saying steps should be taken to reduce its use.

Meanwhile, Councillor Denis Chapman supported the continued use of the chemical.

"What we're using at the moment is used all over the place. If it's used in the right ways, we can make a decision," he said.

"People that use these chemicals know how to use them safely and to the correct quantities.

"These are the chemicals we need for the cost of them. Other chemicals, sometimes the cost is 400 per cent of this."

Ultimately, the councillors voted 8-3 to continue the use of glyphosate on the Fraser Coast.