24 November 2015
The Victorian Government has released its response to an Inquiry
report relating to the use of chemical substances by the former Victorian Department of Crown Lands. The Inquiry examined the impacts of exposure from particular chemicals on the Department's employees between 1965 and 1995 in a number of Western Victorian shires.
The Government established the Inquiry after former employees from the Department of Crown Lands raised concerns about the use and practices of the chemicals 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D throughout their employment and if exposure had had a detrimental effect on their health.
report was publicly released on 24 November 2015. The Government accepted all three recommendations from the Inquiry, indicating they would respond in early 2016.
The Victorian Government, led by the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP), takes the safety of its workers seriously and is committed to the highest levels of workplace safety and wellbeing. It will review its policies and practices to ensure that no failings from the period remain,
particularly in relation to the use, handling and storage of chemicals by employees.
DELWP will now endeavour to contact all former sprayers employed up until 1995 to provide free health screening for a history of chloracne, soft tissue sarcoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
DELWP will consider appropriate options for the workers affected who test positive for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and/or soft tissue sarcoma where there is clear evidence of a link established through the Worker Health Study or through significant numbers of former sprayers having contracted cancers.
- The Government will work closely with a University to update the Worker Health Study, using the same workers as it may provide evidence to support a link on the use of 2,4,5 T to soft tissue sarcoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The Government believes it is worth investing in an updated study and comparing
the results with the National Cancer registry for evidence of causation or lack thereof.
- DELWP will lead a review of current practices in departments and agencies engaged in spraying activities, to ensure that they meet current standards. As part of this review, those selected departments and agencies will be asked to review their auditing processes, including compliance processes, for
employees using or exposed to dangerous goods or hazardous substances.
If you would like further information about the health screening process or the Inquiry recommendations please contact our customer support line on 1800 987 767.
An overview of the Inquiry Findings and Government's response can be found here:
Former Lands Department Chemical Inquiry – Government Response – Overview [PDF File - 146.7 KB]
The full response can be found here:
Former Lands Department Chemical Inquiry – Government Response – Report [MS Word Document - 70.0 KB]