Frankston City Council will reintroduce the use of glyphosate for weed control following extensive community feedback.
Councillors voted at their 15 February meeting to overturn the Council ban on the use of glyphosate after consideration of the science relating to health risks, decline of quality of parks and vegetation, and excessive costs for less than desired results.
Mayor Kris Bolam said the significant increase in weeds throughout Frankston City’s parks and reserves will be rapidly brought under control with results immediately visible.
“We’ve listened to community feedback and learnt from the glyphosate ban, and will continue to reduce chemical use and use chemical free weed control techniques where practical.
“Herbicide use will be restricted in playgrounds and preschools throughout the municipality with low risk, non-herbicide weed control as the primary method,” Mayor Bolam added.
Council Coordinator Parks and Vegetation, Alan Wallis, said the reintroduction of glyphosate use by Council officers and contractors will be at a significantly lower volume than prior to the ban as part of an integrated weed management approach including low risk alternatives.
Mr Wallis echoed the Mayor’s statement that residents will see a marked reduction in weedy growth in parks, reserves and roadside vegetation where it is managed by Council.
“Council will continue to review and refine weed management practices. We’re prioritising protection of biodiversity and native flora by ensuring weed control methods are effective with minimal environmental impact,” he said.
Mr Wallis noted that the current guidance from Australian regulatory authorities is that products containing glyphosate can continue to be used safely in accordance with directions in the Safety Data Sheet and labels.
Mayor Bolam added: “A range of alternative weed management has been investigated through internal trials and in partnership with Deakin University resulting in a number of positive ongoing improvements, reducing risk to health and environment as a result of the glyphosate ban.
“Council acts in the best interest of residents, ratepayers and visitors by making decisions based on science and economics. We also go ‘above and beyond’ to ensure residents are informed when herbicides are being used,” Mayor Bolam said.
Mayor Bolam noted that it was forecast that weed management would cost an additional $600,000 due to the glyphosate ban, however, ratepayers would now save approximately $500,000 due to Council’s decision to overturn the ban.
The Mayor added that Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) states products containing glyphosate can continue to be used safely in accordance with the directions in the Safety Data Sheet and labels.
“We take this matter seriously and that’s why last year we lobbied – via the Australian Local Government Association – for a national herbicide study to determine the most effective forms of herbicide for use in common public recreational spaces.”
Frankston resident, Uilses, who regularly spends time walking in Frankston City’s parks and reserves, said the previously pristine areas had noticeably become weed infested.
“Our parks and reserves not only help to connect us with nature, but also provide an important outlet to socialise and exercise. It’s important that they’re well maintained and that weeds simply don’t take over.
“I’m pleased the Council has listened to locals and that glyphosate will again be reintroduced – in accordance with all relevant guidelines – to ensure that our parks and reserves will again look their best and be the pride of Frankston City,” Uilses said.
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