Who to report chemical spray drift to

If you think that spray drift or chemical misuse has occurred, it's important that you report it to the right authority. There are different reporting requirements depending on the type of incident that has occurred.

Human health issues

Phone Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) on 1300 362 128 to report:

  • on-farm chemical misuse incident involving human exposure to chemicals
  • related concerns about risks to human health.

Crops or livestock issues (including aquaculture)

Phone Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 to report inappropriate agricultural chemical application resulting in:

  • spray drift damage to, or abnormal growth in commercial crops
  • suspected injury or residue contamination to livestock.

Agricultural chemical misuse incidents - spray drift not evident

Phone Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 where agricultural chemicals have been applied contrary to label instructions, such as:

  • harvesting crops too early outside of label withholding periods
  • crops being sprayed with an agricultural chemical not registered for the purpose
  • applying a chemical above label rate.

Odour drift

Contact your nearest local government authority to report chemical odours.

Agricultural chemicals may emit strong odours that can drift over a considerable distance. However, the presence of an odour does not necessarily mean the chemical is present.

Read Noise, odour or dust - making a complaint (PDF, 103KB) for further information.

Environmental damage

Phone the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection's (EHP's) pollution hotline 1300 130 372 as soon as possible to report spray drift that you think has:

  • affected waterways
  • damaged vegetation or trees.

Discuss the nature of your spray drift concern with the consultant who takes your call. Your complaint will be referred to a specialist officer for attention.

Alleged damage to vegetation needs to be assessed to determine if it is significant enough to warrant investigation.

Environmental fish kill

Phone EHP's pollution hotline on 1300 130 372 as soon as possible to report an agricultural chemical misuse or spray drift incident causing an environmental fish kill (a large number of fish, other marine or freshwater animals, killed in a short period in a creek or river).

Contact the EHP hotline even if chemical misuse or spray drift is not suspected of having caused an environmental fish kill.

Learn more about fish kill reporting.

Aquaculture fish kill

Phone Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 to report an agricultural chemical misuse or spray drift incident causing an aquaculture fish kill (a large number of fish or crustacea, such as crayfish, killed within a short period in a hatchery).

If you are unsure whether the incident is aquaculture-related, phone EHP on 1300 130 372. EHP will refer the matter to Biosecurity Queensland if it is aquaculture-related.

An adverse experience

Phone the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) on (02) 6210 4700 or report any adverse experience from agricultural chemical use.

An adverse experience is an unintended or unexpected effect of a product when used according to the label instructions. This includes:

  • impacts on human beings, animals and crops
  • damage to the environment
  • lack of efficacy.

APVMA investigates all reports of adverse experiences with agricultural chemical products in Australia.

APVMA is an Australian Government agency that approves the registration and labels of agricultural and veterinary chemical products, prior to sale.

Overflying of aerial spraying aircraft over residential homes

Contact the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) on 13 17 57 to report overflying issues only - not spray drift matters.

Spray drift incident resulting in more than one impact

Occasionally, the nature of an incident may require more than one agency to be involved because of multiple impacts.

For example, if spray drift has allegedly caused both commercial crop damage and chemical run-off into a nearby stream, EHP would deal with the alleged run-off and Biosecurity Queensland with the alleged commercial crop damage.

Generally, you should contact the agency responsible for the issue that you consider has had the greater impact. That agency then consults with the other agency dealing with the lesser impact.

Related links

Last reviewed
September 8, 2015