Council management to monitor use of chemical

Council management to monitor use of chemical

Hilltops Council is leaving the use of Glyphosate containing chemicals by its staff up to council management.

After calls in recent months to ban the use of the chemicals council voted last month to note a report on use of the chemicals effectively leaving up its use to management.

Glyphosate presents a chemical hazard which introduces environmental risk and Work Health and Safety (WHS) risk to be managed by staff, newly appointed council general manager said in his report to the meeting.

Two councillors, Cr John Horton and Cr Tony Flanery spoke against the move with Cr Horton calling for a full time ban on the chemical.

Cr Horton said he had researched use of the chemicals worldwide and "when you study that and read what has happened around the world, nobody in their right mind would want to use this disease causing liquid".

"Argentina banned it in 2015, Austria banned it is 2019, Bahrain banned it in 2017, Belgium in 2017, Canada banned," he said.

Mayor Brian Ingram responded telling Cr Horton he was speaking against banning the chemicals not speaking against the motion before the council.

"I want to put in an amended motion too," Cr Horton said. "I'd like to foreshadow a motion the Hilltops ban all useage of glyphosate from 26th of March, 2020," he added.

Cr Greg Armstrong added to the debate: "this is entirely within the realm of the general manager, I can't see how council can be involved in day to day management, this appears to me to be entirely out of order".

General manager Mr Anthony O'Reilly said it was under his delegation to indicate which chemicals were and were not used.

"We're not saying we will or will not use (glyphosate), these are the guidelines under which we would use," Mr O'Reilly said of the report.

"It is not banned but it is only to be used in circumstances where we can adhere to our Work, Health and Safety guidelines so there is no absolute to use it, there is no absolute not to use it."

Cr Flanery told the meeting the report didn't say council was willing to use the chemical.

"Glyphosate is not banned in Australia, it's been thoroughly researched," he said.

"I don't believe Hilltops Council can ban a product scientists say is still safe to use with PPE (personal protective equipment)," Cr Flanery added.

Councillors Flanery, Manchester and Wallace voted against accepting the council report.