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Greens will move in Senate to ban triazines

Media Release
Christine Milne 16 Feb 2010

The Australian Greens will move in the Senate to ban the use of triazines until the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) can demonstrate that they are safe to use.

The consistent failure of successive Tasmanian governments over 20 years to deal with the human health and environmental impacts of triazine contamination means it is time for the federal government to step in and require the Tasmanian government to conduct rigorous analysis to determine water quality in every catchment.

"Triazines are banned throughout Europe because of their impact on public health and the environment, yet they are still allowed to be used in Australia," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said.

"The APVMA took 11 years to review the use of atrazines and came up with recommendations that are simply insufficient.

"Communities suffering increasing health impacts cannot wait for wheels to turn so slowly in the APVMA.

"Simazine was found in tap water in Orford last year, and yet the APVMA is only beginning its review into this toxic chemical in the coming months.

"The Tasmanian government's own research has confirmed that these chemicals remain in the environment twice as long in cooler climates, making them more persistent in Tasmania.

"We already have a ban on the triazines in the Macquarie River catchment in Tasmania. The ban should now be extended to all water catchments in the state as a matter of urgency.

"Many pesticides have been linked to animal and human reproductive and nervous system problems.

"It is hard to believe that the Tasmanian government is still conducting its review of aerial spraying, a process in train since 2005.

"As Leader of the Tasmanian Greens in the early 1990s, I called for a ban on the use of triazines in Tasmania, following the contamination of Olivers Creek at Lorinna.

"The attempt to the ban the triazines for the past 20 years has been beset by endless reviews and mirror tactics - 'just looking into it' - as a go slow mechanism which successive Tasmanian governments have made into an art form.

"It is time that the federal government took a much keener interest in the contamination of Tasmania's river systems and the impacts on human and animal health, with responsibility for this ranging across the environment, water, health and agriculture portfolios."

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