On 16 October 2019, the NSW Government confirmed the Revocation of Municipal Waste Organics Orders (MWOO) and Exemptions (NSW) announcing that, “after extensive scientific research, human health and ecological risks were too high to allow Municipal Waste Organics to be used on agricultural land”. Meanwhile, the Queensland Government still has no position on MWOO and is continuing to endorse the continued application of this material to agricultural land, at the same time as potentially courting more investment into the technologies producing these types of materials.
With the high quality and ‘safe and green’ nature of our produce a critical factor in the growth of the export market, QFF supports a precautionary principle and strongly endorses science-based decision-making. QFF reiterates the risks of MWOO application onto agricultural land, particularly in light of the recent updates to various End of Waste Codes including Biosolids, which has included advice from the Department of Environment and Science that farmland that is proven to have accepted and applied contaminated materials may be placed on the Environmental Management Register.
Queensland’s agricultural sector also needs a vibrant and healthy organic manufacturing sector, capable of supplying quality soil and potting mixes through to contaminant-free compost and mulching materials for tree crops. Whilst many farms produce their own organic products, the quantities are insufficient to meet all agricultural needs and many primary producers, nursery and flower growers for example, do not necessarily have the physical land footprint, appropriate location, infrastructure capacity or desire to manufacture their own organic materials.
Farmers, as custodians of the land, many of whom wish to pass their land to future generations in better condition than what they received it, want to be confident that the beneficial soil ameliorants they are using do not pose any negative environmental or health impacts and will not jeopardise markets for their produce. While we wait for progress on this issue, we urge all farmers to continue to be diligent with their purchase and application of all soil amendment and fertiliser products.