A man found guilty in the Echuca Magistrates Court of spraying chemicals without a licence and causing significant spraydrift damage has been ordered to pay costs and compensation of more than $7500.
The court heard that the man was spraying on behalf of a company at a property in northern Victoria, when spray drifted onto a neighbouring field crop, affecting about 90 per cent of the crop and resulting in an estimated $13,800 loss.
Agriculture Victoria Chemical Standards Officers inspected, photographed and took samples of the affected crop at the time, with laboratory analysis confirming glyphosate residue.
Spray records made by the man were also missing key details, such as the full product trade name of the glyphosate product he had used.
The man was convicted of five charges, ordered to pay costs and compensation of more than $7,500 and placed on an undertaking to be of good behaviour for two years.
Agriculture Victoria’s chemicals specialist Steve Field said the financial penalty, coupled with the two-year undertaking of good behaviour, should send a strong message to all chemical users.
“Firstly, chemical users must make sure they reduce the risk of spraydrift by using appropriately calibrated spray equipment and only spraying when the conditions are right,” Mr Field said.
“Secondly, people using chemicals for fee or reward must hold a Commercial Operator’s Licence issued by Agriculture Victoria in order to legally operate their business,” he said.
“Thirdly, it is mandatory when using chemicals that people make the required records within 48 hours and keep them for two years. This applies to all users of agricultural and veterinary chemicals.”
Agriculture Victoria encourages anyone suspecting spraydrift to have occurred, or suspecting that someone is not using chemicals lawfully, to contact the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
Source: Agriculture Victoria. For more information on chemical regulation in Victoria please visit Agriculture Victoria’s Chemical Use webpages.