Chemical use in farming in the Nambucca Valley addressed by anti-blueberry activist

Raewyn Macky spoke at Nambucca Valley Council’s fortnightly meeting at the Utungun Community Centre last week.

LOCAL resident and prominent anti-blueberry farming activist Raewyn Macky addressed last week’s Nambucca Valley Council meeting at the Utungun Community Hall, raising the topic of chemical use in intensive agricultural operations.

Ms Macky is concerned about the use and over-use of pesticides and herbicides on blueberry farms and listed two commonly used chemicals which have been outlawed in other countries yet which are still regularly used in Australian farming.

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“Danadim Progress is a poison with Dimethoate being the active constituent.”

“It is an organophosphate banned in at least India and Europe (2019); France bans the importation of fruit from countries that use Dimethoate to grow the fruit,” Ms Macky told the meeting.

The second chemical she highlighted was the insecticide Diazinon, another organophosphate.

This product is regularly used in ear-tags for cattle in the Nambucca Valley and is highly toxic to most insects and birds.

It is also used in horticulture on foliage and seeds to control pests.

“According to the Los Angeles Times, it is banned in 58 countries.

“No matter whether our APVMA (Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority) tells us it is safe to use, I would regard the news that 58 other countries have banned it tells us a truer and scarier picture,” she told the Council.

Organophosphates are some of the highly toxic chemicals which have been removed from shelves in many countries as they were recently reclassified by authorities as probable carcinogens and have been deemed too dangerous, particularly for children, to be used in residential settings.

“We need to gain better information to make better choices to lead healthier lives.

“Anyone who lives with a blueberry farm right next door or within spray drift distance, is having those choices taken away from us by governments who are too lax with chemical laws, councils who fail to enforce safe distance buffer zones and farmers who continue to use such violently harmful chemicals,” Ms Macky said.


The view from Raewyn and Marcel’s back deck in the Nambucca Valley overlooking a recently established blueberry farm. She anticipates many litres of chemicals will be used to produce fruit for sale over the next eight to ten years.

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