The EPA has launched an investigation into alleged breaches of the Pesticides Act and The Protection of the Environment Operations Act concerning the off-label use of pesticides in the golf industry.
Representatives from GolfNSW, the AGCSA, and the NSWGCSA met with the EPA yesterday to discuss the current compliance status of the industry and the industry’s proposed environmental minimum standard.
The EPA is very supportive of the industry’s proposed environmental initiative but expressed its disappointment with the industry’s current level of compliance. The EPA’s Industry Manager Greg Sheehy told the group that the EPA is alarmed at the current level of non-compliance across the industry.
The EPA’s investigation has uncovered extensive non-compliance across a high number of clubs. As a result, the golf industry is on the EPA’s radar and is now part of the EPA’s Regulatory Programs Operations. This means golf club Superintendents and Managers will be subject to ongoing random site inspections by EPA investigators. Over the coming months many Superintendents, Club Managers, Boards and Suppliers can expect to receive Legal Notices from the EPA requiring them to provide information on their current and past pesticide use.
The EPA is committed to working closely with the industry to improve compliance and recognised that whilst many clubs are meeting their compliance obligations it is now time for the remaining clubs to comply.
The current EPA investigation will continue for some time and we can expect a number of prosecutions. Under the environmental legislation the vicarious liability provisions can expose, “those concerned in the management of the organisation,” to individual prosecution for the actions of a staff member.
We encourage all Superintendents and Club Managers to support the proposed Environmental Minimum Standard and ensure they comply with NSW environmental legislation.
For more information visit the EPA Website at http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/epa/