Greens successfully launch killer herbicides investigation

October 15, 2003 - Greens (WA) MLC Robin Chapple has succeeded in launching an important Parliamentary Inquiry into the source of toxic herbicides used by former agricultural workers in the Kimberley and across the country.

Following the successful passage of a motion in State Parliament this afternoon, Mr Chapple expressed his thanks to all opposition parties for supporting the motion.

'In particular the Minister for Agriculture, Kim Chance MLC, is to be commended for throwing Government support behind this inquiry,' Mr Chapple said.

This inquiry, which I proposed last year, will hopefully allow us to fill in some crucial details. It will be tasked with investigation of the following:'

(a) the sources of supply, the terms and conditions under which the chemicals were supplied to or acquired by the APB and the destinations of the chemicals;

(b) the purchasing arrangements and sources of chemicals supplied to the APB and if material sourced from overseas was supplied to and/or included in material provided by chemical companies to the APB; and

(c) what accounting systems were used by the APB to track the quantities and location of chemicals and how those systems might be improved to ensure accurate information is readily available and so that better information is available for protecting worker and community health.

'We know that South-East Asia was awash with huge quantities of surplus chemicals once the United States discontinued the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam. We also know that shortly afterwards, herbicide workers in the Kimberley reported enormous amounts of chemicals in unmarked drums started arriving, and that that was when people started getting sick.'

'What we don't have yet is an accurate idea of how these two events were connected.'

The community is still awaiting the outcome of the Armstrong Report into worker health, which has been repeatedly delayed.

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