Posted 11 May 2021

Message from Mark Unwin, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Sports Turf Managers Association

With COVID-19 restrictions easing around Australia, many facilities are experiencing a return to community sport combined with increased activity and participation levels.  Coinciding with this increase in public access and use of facilities, has been certain reports in the media and other areas, relating to concerns raised by a number of user groups, as facilities conduct spraying activities to prepare turf for this transition into the winter period.

Following these reports, we felt it timely for the Association to remind members of the industry code of conduct and legal requirements relating to chemical handling and application.

As the peak industry body for Sports Turf Management in Australia, the Association supports the continual improvement in knowledge, education and professional standards of its members and other industry professionals in the production of quality turf facilities for Sport & Recreation in Australia. The Association strives to ensure that these constant improvements in professional Sports Turf Management standards are achieved in a safe, responsible and environmentally sustainable manner.

Following these reports in various forms of media relating to chemical application at sporting and recreational spaces, we have also been made aware of an increased level of focus from some state and workplace regulatory bodies (APVMA, EPA etc.) relating to residue management and access periods, off-label use and storage of chemicals.

As a reminder to members, the Association advises that activities are to be compliant with state and federal requirements for turf-registered chemical use, storage, handling and application, and that off-label use without approved regulatory authorisation is not permitted.

Off-label use is when a registered chemical is used in a manner that is not specified on the product label, such as:

  • to control a different pest or disease
  • application at a different rate
  • in a different manner than specified on the label or legally approved

Off-label use of chemicals is not supported without appropriate and approved permits, and is therefore not included within a manufacturer’s warranty.  All aspects of off-label use are the user’s responsibility, including:

  • access and residue control
  • environmental safeguards
  • occupational health and safety
  • plant and animal welfare

Given differences in formulations types and concentrations, the risk of incorrect application is high, potentially leading to:

  • detrimental short and long-term turf damage;
  • increased environmental risks; and
  • increased risk of physical exposure to applicators, team members and the public.

We ask that all members consider their obligations of using turf-registered products in line with the greater interest of the industry, following approved processes for permit applications, and ensure that they, and their staff are familiar with the code and legal requirements.

For more information, please refer to:

Please feel free to contact the Association should you require further information regarding any of the above.

 

Regards,

Mark

 

Mark Unwin
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Sports Turf Managers Association