2011 February: Dunoon (NSW) Spray Drift Fear

A GROUP of Dunoon residents are demanding a US agricultural company at least warn them the next time it sprays potentially cancer-causing chemicals in their area.

While spokesman Silas Long said the group was keen to maintain friendly relations with Hancock Agricultural Investment Group, they were yet to receive a written response about an incident involving a helicopter spraying close to neighbouring properties during windy conditions in November.

The Hancock group, which owns several macadamia farms near Dunoon, used choppers for aerial spraying on at least two occasions late last year causing serious concerns within parts of the local community.

Residents’ concerns led to a local meeting that demanded , in future, neighbours be notified of all sprayings and the names of the chemicals to be used.

But Mr Long blamed “weak planning”, that had allowed residential and farming properties to exist side by side, rather than the Hancock group, for the situation locals have found themselves in.

Since publicity about the incident, the organic banana and avocado grower has had a verbal discussion with Hancock’s managing director, Andrew Strahley.

A letter had gone to the agricultural company on January 18.

The Dunoon residents’ concerns come on the heels of a report by the Environmental Defenders Office NSW and the National Toxics Network, called Getting the Drift, that found many pesticides and herbicides commonly used on the Northern Rivers pose a threat to human health.