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Byron Shire
May 6, 2021

Pesky pesticides

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Cr Basil Cameron, Goonengerry

I have received a number of comments about the use of the term pesticide when raising concerns about ongoing spraying on rural roadsides despite statements in the Integrated Pest Management Strategy (the Strategy) that ‘no pesticides’ have been used since 2018.

In Council’s Integrated Pest Management Policy (the Policy) it is stated that the ‘definition of pesticides covers bactericides, baits, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, lures, rodenticides and repellants’.

The Policy is replicating the definition in the NSW Pesticides Act. The Policy guides the development of the Strategy and the term pesticides is used, throughout the document with this meaning.

The Strategy needs further work to ensure inaccurate statements are corrected about when pesticides have been used, as well as greater clarity as to exactly what has been used.

The current method of spraying roadsides without any follow-up action is detrimental to biodiversity and only increases the costs of roadside maintenance. My Small Steps to Healthier Rural Roadsides (Small Steps) initiative proposes a number of measures that protect and enhance biodiversity, improves protection for roadside infrastructure, reduces the costs of roadside maintenance and reduces the use of non-organic chemical control.

Small Steps supports groups such as Landcare and residents who maintain road frontage to increase native plantings as replacement for recurring weed cover. Council geospatial mapping can be used to create geofences that protect such areas from slashing and chemical control.

A program of native plantings following road upgrades with follow-up using Council’s regen teams, until properly established, can be funded with the savings from a reduction in business-as-usual slashing and chemical control.

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