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Aerial Spraying Back On Shire’s Agenda

Shire is to push for aerial spraying of mosquito breeding grounds before summer

By Nieta Manser - 16th September 2002 - Back to News

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The East Gippsland shire will seek permission to begin aerial spraying of insecticides before the summer, after areas such as Bairnsdale, Paynesville and Eagle Point were identified as a "mosquito heaven", during a recent summit on mosquito control.

Experts at the two-day summit have recommended insecticides Bti and methoprene, which are said to work at low doses while targeting mosquito larvae over breeding grounds.

The shires plans come despite the Natural Resources and Environment Department(NRE)rejecting requests to aerial spray abate two years ago.

Addressing environmental concerns about aerial spraying, Professor Brian Kay from Brisbane’s Mosquito Control Laboratory said Bti and Methroprene had come up "squeakily clean" in studies done at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research on the use of insecticides for local governments.

He believes there is public support for its use and says it is "more economic and environmentally responsible to use these products, rather then use indiscriminate fogging of adult mosquitoes".

Armed with this information, Shire Mayor, Cr Peter Bommer wants to sit down with NRE and Parks Victoria to discuss costs and a code of practice . He is hopeful a trial of aerial spraying can be achieved "before the holiday makers arrive".

However, David Scott from Bairnsdale’s NRE said their position on aerial spraying from 2 years ago hadn’t changed. "Our current position is that it [NRE] doesn’t allow aerial spraying".

Mr Scott said a working-group had been re-established but discussions will have to take place regarding the coming summer.

Professor Kay stressed that mosquito control should be a priority for East Gippsland as there was a real threat of Ross River and Barmah Forest infections in humans. He warned, "the tourism dollar should also be protected.

Responding to the shire’s plans, Victoria’s EPA said policy regarding aerial spraying lay with NRE. Recognising mosquito breeding in East Gippsland needed to be addressed, they hoped any action taken would be targeted and have no impact on other species.

For further information on the Shire’s mosquito management program, contact Cr Peter Bommer or Joseph Cullen on 5153-9500 or see:

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