Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (22 April) . . Page.. 1199 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
child playing in these areas is in the order of 15 to 20 kilograms. I think that we should keep that in mind and be conscious that glyphosate will have degraded to almost zero concentration in the soil by the time it gets there.
We really are talking about a minimal danger to children in this area. That having been said, we always take the minimum path, we always take the safest possible path, which is why we recognise that a mistake did occur. Mistakes will occur. The question is not whether mistakes occur or not; it is what you do about ensuring that they are avoided in the future. My colleague Mr Smyth has pointed out the actions that have been taken already and that are likely to be taken. We will continue to monitor these issues and try to get the best possible outcomes.
It is interesting to go back and look at what has happened in the ACT in the past as far as the way we have reacted to what we have perceived as chemical dangers is concerned. The first one, I think, was the asbestos issue. The second was the one I referred to earlier, the sheep dip issue. In retrospect, on both issues we significantly overreacted. That made the community feel at ease, but it would seem to me with the wisdom of hindsight that in the expenditure for safety, on a cost-benefit analysis, we totally overreacted. It would seem to me that one of the things we have to learn from these processes is not to overreact, not to allow the political drive, the concerns of a couple of people, to put these things out of perspective. I think it is very important to put these issues in perspective, as we have other issues. It seems to me that the Government is acting properly in this area and will continue to do so.
MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hird): The discussion is concluded.
MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services): Mr Corbell asked a question during the MPI about the training of operators. I have some information for him. I seek leave to respond.
MR SMYTH: I have some quick advice for Mr Corbell. I will get him a full answer. It appears that there were some longer courses, although a 12-month course, on the advice I have, seems unlikely. Apparently what happens now is that there is an initial two-day course run by the CIT at Weston - the horticultural school; it is a training provider - which gives those having completed that course the status of a trainee sprayer. Those trainee sprayers then can operate under the guidance of a qualified sprayer. Over the course of some months - 12 months, I believe I was told - they do further courses and gain more skills until they are accredited as fully-fledged sprayers. I will get further clarification of that, but there is a process. It is a process of an initial course followed by supervision and on-the-job training that allows people to become qualified to spray these chemicals.