Weedkiller gets green light: Council approves continued use of glyphosate

Photo: File Image.
Photo: File Image.

After months of ongoing deliberation, the City of Mandurah has voted to approve the continued use of a common weedkiller in public spaces.

At a council meeting on May 26, almost a year after the initial request was made to review the use of glyphosate in highly-trafficked areas, councillors endorsed the City's current practice of using the chemical herbicide.

The decision had been deferred from the February council meeting to allow councillors to be briefed on how and why the Cities of Nedlands and Subiaco chose to use alternative treatments.

The review found the current use of glyphosate chemical herbicide products were "safe to use" and still the most suitable broad spectrum weed treatment for the City.

Instead, a number of operational changes were recommended to minimise the use of glyphosate in popular public spaces, including further restrictions on the times and methods of applying the treatments.

All chemical herbicides applied at the eastern and western foreshores and in and around commercial shopping and school precincts must be applied before 7.30am and in a targeted way by use of 'hand wand' applicators to avoid over spray.

This will occur alongside manual weeding where practicable.

The conclusion was met with unanimous support from councillors.

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Deputy mayor Caroline Knight, who requested the initial report looking into the use of the weed killer in June 2019, acknowledged that it was a "slightly contentious topic".

After an extensive investigation, Cr Knight said she was happy to approve the recommendation at Tuesday night's council meeting.

"We are not scientists," she said.

"We should follow the advice."

The City currently spends around $400,000 a year on its weed management program.

However, the cost of switching to an alternative practice would have been worn by local residents with a rate increase of " at least half a percent".

An alternative motion was approved to include bringing the item back to council in two years to consider the latest weed killer techniques and technologies available.

Until that time, officers will continue to monitor alternative options as these develop or become available to the market, with any possibilities to be brought to council "right away".