PS Inquiry Must Follow Fiskville Findings

Tuesday 24th May 2016


The Australian Workers’ Union Victorian branch has welcomed today’s Fiskville findings and is calling for a comprehensive inquiry into the chemical exposure experienced by former Lands Department workers and others in the public sector.


AWU Victorian Secretary Ben Davis said the examination of Fiskville’s hazards should now be matched by a comprehensive inquiry into the damage done to public sector workers engaged in weed and pest control.


“We need a statewide inquiry into the range of chemicals handled by public sector employees from 1965 to the present,” Mr Davis said.


“An inquiry last year into the experiences of Lands Department workers who handled 245T and 24D in the general Ballarat region between 1965 and 1995, showed clear deficiencies in past policies, procedures and training.


“It also showed that recommendations from various internal and external reviews were not necessarily adopted.  There needs to be a comprehensive investigation without delay.”


Workers for various departments had been exposed to a cavalier attitude to chemical handling and claims of ill-health as a result had never been properly investigated. The parliamentary committee report into Fiskville says there is a likelihood of a link between chemical exposure there and cancer.


“Those who have worked on weed and pest control, with reassurances that they could not be harmed by the chemicals they were using, deserve justice,” Mr Davis said.


“After the findings released today they need answers more than ever. This is not something that can be swept under the carpet.”