An Australian-first proposal to ban the general sale of second generation rodent poisons in Victoria appears doomed, with the state government flagging it won't back the move amid a national review.
The Agriculture Legislation Amendment Bill was brought on for debate in Victoria's upper house on Tuesday afternoon.
It will amend 11 different agricultural acts to address areas such as biodiversity, chemical use, veterinary practice and food safety.
The omnibus bill has bipartisan support but the Victorian Greens are moving an amendment to also outlaw the general sale of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) in supermarkets and hardware stores likes Woolworths and Bunnings.
Unlike first-generation poisons, a blood-thinning chemical used in SGARs can remain active for months and cause secondary poisoning of wildlife such as native eagles and owls that prey on dead and dying rodents.
Federal authorities knocked back a request from NSW last year to use bromadiolone, a SGAR dubbed "napalm for rodents", to control its raging mouse plague over wildlife concerns.
Under the amendment, Victorian farmers would still be able to purchase second-generation rodent poisons off store shelves in line with licence rules in Europe.
Victorian Greens Deputy Leader Ellen Sandell urged the Andrews government to back the ban to protect the "countless" native birds, mammals, pet cats and dogs exposed to second-hand poisoning each year.
"These dangerous rat poisons should not be for sale at supermarkets and hardware stores, and many countries have already banned them," she said.
It is understood the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority is reviewing second-generation rodenticides, with a proposal for a regulatory decision due next year.
The omnibus bill supports the recognition of APVMA-approved labels, which will assist to communicate and enforce any national changes to the supply and use of SGARs stemming from the review.
A Victorian government spokesman said Agriculture Victoria has been working with APVMA as part of the review and it "acknowledges the emerging concerns about risks associated with second generation rodenticides".
"We will follow the advice of the independent authority and support any changes with education and advice on correct use," he said.
The Victorian Liberals and Nationals will outright oppose the Greens amendment, saying all APVMA-approved rodenticides are put through rigorous tests before coming on the market.
"Recent mouse plagues in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia underline the important role these rodenticides play," Victorian Nationals Leader Peter Walsh said.
"Mouse plagues and the diseases they spread are detrimental to Victoria's food security, environment and human health."
Victoria's agriculture amendment bill has become a focus of debunked viral claims, spread in Australia as well as parts of Europe, that it will ban people from growing their own food.
Australian Associated Press
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