Sven Wiener for GTC Councillor

Name: Sven Wiener ......................................................

Background: Educated at Exeter Primary, Riverside High, Launceston College,UTas(Engineering).


Work in farming every day & have concerns about state govt's Oct2014 decision to stop monitoring Tas rivers for pesticide/herbicide levels (see     
(To view above webpages, please copy & paste web addresses into your web browser)
Even worse, in 2016 DPIPWE decided to check how bad pesticide levels had gotten in Tasmanian rivers/undergroundwater. They found these levels were way over the top but decided this would cost too much money to fix. Something was done though: a Yellow paper was sent around Tas public service health professionals warning them of likely health risks from these elevated levels of pesticides in water used by the general population for showering,  drinking, cooking, and by farmers for growing hay/barley/wheat fed to pigs/chooks/sheep/cattle. The pesticide residues contaminating farm irrigation water, bioaccumulate up the food chain, peaking in whoever consumes the farm produce.
The organophosphate herbicides upset the body. Organophosphate pesticides also upset the brain. This is a serious problem I'd like council to consider as well as widely advertising their "No Spray" list so residents can say if they want Council to spray herbicides outside their house. George Town Council uses herbicide for roadside spraying in Autumn and Spring that lasts in roadside vegetation for months.
Swan Point low-lying peninsula opposite Hillwood, has over the last four years had an unusually high incidence of illness/death of people and their pets. The Tas Health Dept has been notified but don't seem to be interested. Local Government Act 1993 states councils must watch out for health & well-being of their residents. That includes even when other areas of government are failing to do their proper job such as during the 2007-2012 pulp mill fight with its controversial fast-track planning assessment. Pesticide spraying by Launceston houses in the leadup to long weekends seems to be adding to the already heavy pollution load coming at times from the West Tamar vineyards and Launceston's sewage treatment ponds overflowing up to 1000 times a year as well as dumping their still-pesticide-contaminated treated effluent into the Tamar.


Some Issues we're currently looking at:

Issue 1. Sprayed Chemicals blowing in the Tamar Valley air


The chemical[Fipronil] is banned in around 49 countries including most of Europe. In Tasmania, a permit is required for use.

"All the people who grow grapes, they get permits for it because it also kills the European wasps and that's a very good thing.


The Tamar has so many vineyards, especially on the West Tamar. Who is keeping track of how high the levels of this Fipronil insecticide get in the valley's air? Spray drift can travel for many miles if used irresponsibly in a breeze. Using lots of sprays can make vineyard operators go cranky and work irresponsibly. At the very least, neighbouring properties should be informed (Gunns did this for their vineyards) when spraying is occurring, especially for highly toxic ones that other countries ban like Fipronil. But the state govt, federal govt & local councils don't require that this notification of intention to spray be provided to neighbouring properties. And there is a lot of cancer plus mental health problems throughout the Tamar Valley, costing taxpayers millions to deal with as well as mucking up quality of life for all residents and their pets/livestock along with contaminating farm produce.

West Tamar Council was asked at it's June2019 meeting to bring in a bylaw requiring anyone spraying to tell council in advance so council can notify neighbours who are interested what the spray will be and when. Handy for the vet or doctor to know if kids or pets get sick, plus knowing how long to wait before its safe to eat vegies from their garden. They said they can't make such a bylaw (Raoul Harper emailed back "Council has no regulatory powers to establish a by- law in relation to the use, licencing and notification of chemical application such as you propose.")

George Town's Mayor got the same question at George Town Council's June meeting and will let you know what they say.

Local councils are supposed to watch out for the health and well-being of their residents. So at a minimum, West Tamar Council should be asking the state govt to address any such issue if the council lacks the "regulatory powers".

Clearly West Tamar are no good. The problem is George Town folk breathe the same air and the spray drift from West Tamar's many vineyards travels for miles in that humid river air especially with the land breeze on summer nights.


Issue 2. Cashed-up Outsiders Buying all George Town's coastal property

Outside investment can create jobs, which is good. But too much sale of property around the township to outsiders, who are  often quite wealthy, can completely change the character of historic George Town. Restrictive Covenant can be applied to the property titles of those private properties whose owners want them to stay in local ownership. Council would collect less rates money from those property owners due to reduced market  value of those properties. Council's lawyers would advise on how well such a covenant system would work.


Issue 3. Use of formerly-Proposed pulp mill site

12 years after fast track approval, the site remains vacant & unsold. We support responsible development for that site. If inappropriate development rears its head again, rapid response by a large group of protesters might be crucial for showing the public don’t want it. Otherwise the Establishment will quickly have it half built before we get organised to fight. To be notified of such a rapid response protest, text 0491 057 480. Or ideally download the free Signal app to your smartphone & signal message our mobile number. Do you object to a prison being built there or just the fast track-approved pulp mill?


Please let us know about other issues of particular interest to you, by email:


From the 2007 Pulp Mill Fight  campaign:

Jim Welsh & Allan Russack performing "Beautiful Valley" at Hillwood Hall public meeting regarding the pulp mill, Sep2007

(my apologies: to see them play, you'll need to copy & paste the following youtube web address into your browser window ... )



Authorised by Sven Wiener 2465 West Tamar Hwy.