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Calls for action on harmful chemical sprays - Spray Drift

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Sue Higginson
NSW Greens MP
17 April 2024

25 January 2024 - Continued wet conditions in some agricultural areas have brought forward concerns about the types of chemicals being used in spraying operations and how they are impacting communities and the environment. 

Greens MP and spokesperson for the environment Sue Higginson said “There are 700,000 tonnes of recovered fines that are reused in NSW every year, and we now know that about half of them would not be able to pass compliance checks if they were subject to them,”

“The EPA has known that these contaminated products have been returning to the environment and communities for years, but political failure and a lack of resources has meant that they couldn’t intervene,”

“It is gut wrenching to know that playgrounds, early childhood education centres and other high risk areas have been exposed to highly dangerous contaminants despite the EPA trying to reform the system under the former Coalition Government,”

“Lobbyists from the building industry interfered with the EPA review into this broken system in 2022 and now it’s time for the new Government to act. The influence of powerful industries has hamstrung the EPA in the logging of native forests, the irresponsible use of pesticides, and with the use of contaminated soils. Enough is enough,”

“The EPA needs to be fully resourced to address this statewide issue and the Government must ensure that there is a suitable regulatory environment to stop asbestos and lead contaminated products from being sold as clean soil,”

“If it takes another year for the Government to support the EPA in this work, there could be another 350,000 tonnes of contaminated soil being distributed to sensitive areas where human exposure is inevitable,”

“In Victoria, these products are closely tracked and polluters are held to stringent liability. In Queensland, contaminated products are put straight into landfill. Here in NSW, we should be doing better than both of those other states. We need strong regulations, a resourced and empowered regulator, and we need a system that protects people and the environment from harmful products,”

“The remaining question is, will Chris Minns step up to this challenge or will we see more political failures that lead to communities being exposed to harmful waste,” Ms Higginson said.

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Sue Higginson
NSW Greens MP
17 April 2024


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