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Claims about Agent Orange at Innisfail are unfounded.



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DEFENCE MEDIA RELEASE

Issued by Coordination and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT Phone: 02 6265 3343, Fax: 02 62656946

Media Releases are available via e-mail if you register at www.defence.gov.au/media

CPA 174/08 Thursday, 12 June 2008

CLAIMS ABOUT AGENT ORANGE AT INNISFAIL ARE UNFOUNDED

Recent media reports alleging the use of the chemical defoliant known as ‘Agent Orange’ near Innisfail in Queensland in the 1960s are unfounded.

The Department of Defence conducted one small-scale trial in the Gregory Falls area near Innisfail in 1966 to evaluate the performance of herbicides in controlling the growth of tropical vegetation.

During that trial, small quantities of commercially available herbicide chemicals diquat, picloram and dimethyl sulphoxide were used.

None of these chemicals constitute Agent Orange.

The quantities of the commercial herbicides used in that 1966 Defence trial were much smaller than the amounts that are still used by farming and forestry industries throughout Australia to control vegetation.

No trials under the codename ‘Operation Desert’ were conducted in the Innisfail area as also alleged in media reports.

Defence considers that there is no basis to the allegations about the use of Agent Orange.

Media contact: Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664