1985 November – 1986 March: Stanley (Vic) Velpar (Hexazinone) Incident.

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STANLEY VELPAR INCIDENT November 1985 – March 1986.

Spraying on the Stanley Plateau carried out by DCFL on pine plantations.

Orchards were damaged in this incident by the Overdrift of Velpar. Chlorotic spotting was evident on some fruit trees with the trees suffering the worst possibly being those suffering moisture stress through lack of irrigation. By January at least 24 growers from the Stanley area were effected. The damage was first reported in 26 November. Between 2 and 31 December,1985, a total of 30 written complaints were received in Central Registry. All complainants reported the occurrence of leaf spotting on trees, mainly chestnuts, walnuts, cherries, apples (pears) and on a variety of ornamental species, following the aerial spraying of a nearby pine plantation by the Forest Commission.

Vowell Air Services (Helicopters) Pty Ltd of Stuart Road, Tyabb, apparently did the spraying. The application was Velpar (Hexazinone) applied at a rate of 2kg of active ingredient per hectare mixed with 20 litres of Ulvapron and 32 litres of water. Symptoms of Velpar damage were also observed on roadside reserves and in unsprayed forest areas. Possibly a cloud of minute particles of spray material was picked up during the aerial spraying and carried from the target area by a current of wind which then circulated in a generally south west direction depositing several amounts of spray material over and onto nearby properties.

December 10, 1985: The Ovens and Murray Advertiser ‘Premier called on to intervene on aerial spraying of pine trees’. Orchardists and Beechworth Shire Council wanted the ban in the Stanley area until studies had been completed into the spraying problems.

January 21, 1986: The Ovens and Murray Advertiser ‘Growers call for spraying to stop’. A meeting packed with orchardists at Stanley last Tuesday unanimously called on the CFL Minister, Ms Kirner, to stop aerial spraying in the vicinity of the Stanley Plateau. Orchardists were concerned to see whether there would be any short or long term effects on the production of fruit. Also concerns that sprays had fallen on roofs and then entered water supplies.

February 11, 1986: The Ovens and Murray Advertiser ‘Spraying at Stanley now Banned says Kirner’. ‘The Minister for CFL has introduced a ban on all aerial spraying of pine plantations in the Stanley area . . . The decision follows an urgent call by Stanley orchardists in the middle of January for a ban on the spraying. Ms Kirner said CFL had agreed to cease all spraying pending a investigation into the spotting of fruit and other tree foliage which appeared late in November.