Chief Scientist & Engineer to provide advice on human health risk assessment for Lord Howe Island rodent eradication program

2 Nov 2016

The NSW Government has asked the Chief Scientist & Engineer to provide advice to the Lord Howe Island Board on the human health risk assessment (HHRA) for its proposed rodent eradication program.

Professor Mary O’Kane has convened a panel of experts to provide guidance on all aspects of the HHRA to be conducted prior to the eradication program being approved.

The proposed program – which involves the distribution of poisonous baits by a combination of aerial and ground techniques – aims to rid Lord Howe Island of ship rats and house mice, which have had a negative impact on the local environment over many decades.

Ramboll Environ Australia has been chosen to conduct the HHRA by a seven-person selection committee comprising members of the Expert Panel, Lord Howe Island Community Working Group and Lord Howe Island Board.

Professor O’Kane said it’s critical the HHRA is done right.

“It’s tremendously important when you’re undertaking this type of eradication program that you examine how and to what extent the release of such chemicals might impact local residents and visitors,” Professor O’Kane said.

“That’s why the Environment Minister has asked me to chair an independent Expert Panel which will provide advice on how the HHRA should be conducted, as well as review it.”

The Lord Howe Island Rodent Eradication Program Human Health Risk Assessment Expert Panel comprises:

  • Professor Mary O'Kane, NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer (Chair)
  • Dr Chris Armstrong, Director of the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer (Deputy Chair)
  • Emeritus Professor Stephen Leeder, Chair of the Western Sydney Local Health District Board
  • Professor Brian Priestly, Director of the Australian Centre for Human Health Risk Assessment

Staff from the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer and Ramboll Environ Australia will discuss the HHRA at community meetings on Lord Howe Island on 9 and 10 November 2016.