2003 January: Dalby (Qld) Health Concerns

Despite mounting evidence that agricultural chemicals are poisoning farmers, health authorities refuse to take the problem seriously, writes Greg Roberts.

Aimee Mackay can no longer visit her grandmother on her property on Queensland’s Darling Downs when the pesticide spraying of cotton is under way. “I go into convulsions, I get bad headaches, sometimes I vomit. I just can’t cope with it. If they’re spraying, I lock myself inside. I dare not go outdoors,” says Mackay, 23.

Don and Lynette Lucht are hoping no one plants cotton this summer near their pony stud outside Dalby. “The smell of the chemicals – it chokes you. You have to have a handkerchief around your mouth,” Lynette Lucht says. “One of our pony foals just collapsed. But you don’t get anywhere when you complain. They accuse you of stirring. There’s big dollars in cotton; they don’t want to rock the boat.”