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Why didn’t the APVMA appear on 60 Minutes?

26 March 2010

The APVMA has an active media presence. On 25 March, for example, our CEO appeared on the ABC’s 7.30 Report (external site). We did not appear on 60 Minutes for a number of reasons. 60 Minutes came to us with the storyline that endosulfan and carbendazim were responsible for the events at the Noosa fish hatchery. The evidence suggested otherwise.

The Queensland Government, for example, had set up a special taskforce specifically to investigate the issue and had not yet formally reported. It had, however, released one interim report in which it indicated that it had not found hard evidence of any chemical involvement.  The Taskforce had also advised the APVMA that it had ruled out endosulfan as a possible cause of the problems at the hatchery.

We advised 60 Minutes of these points suggesting that it was premature to stage a debate when there was no evidence to hand that any chemicals were involved. 60 Minutes nonetheless wanted to pursue the story. We declined to participate on camera but provided 60 Minutes with a written statement on 12 February and some supplementary information on 22 February.

More detail

60 Minutes approached the APVMA on 29 January seeking information about endosulfan and carbendazim and our response to the issues at the Sunland Fish Hatchery in Noosa.

The APVMA explained that:

  • a special taskforce, the Noosa Fish Health Investigation Taskforce, had been specifically established to investigate the issue and, in an interim report (external site), had not found hard evidence of any chemical involvement.
  • endosulfan had not been used by the adjacent farmer for many years and the Taskforce had previously ruled out its involvement
  • The Taskforce was yet to formally report its conclusions.

When 60 Minutes did not accept the relevance of this information to their story, the APVMA declined to participate.

The APVMA did, however, provide a written response on 12 February to questions asked by 60 Minutes.

On 22 February, in response to more questions from 60 Minutes, it provided additional information on sales figures of the two chemicals.

In screening its program on 21 March, 60 Minutes did not report its engagement with the APVMA nor the information the APVMA had provided.

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