A CLASS action representing people who believe their cancer has been caused by exposure to the herbicide glyphosate has been lodged in the Victorian Supreme Court.
Tony Carbone, Carbone Lawyers principal, confirmed the case against Bayer, which bought out Monsanto, the manufacturer of the glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide, had been filed, alleging the product had caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The lead plaintiff in the case is Victorian livestock producer Nando Maisano, who has farmed at Clarkefield, on Melbourne's north-eastern fringe, Lower Crawford, to the north of Portland in the far south-west and Carngham, west of Ballarat.
However, Mr Carbone said the class action was Australia-wide in its reach.
"The Victorian Supreme Court will be the original jurisdiction for the case, which is good as it is an experienced court but the action represents people across the country, not just Victoria.
Unlike in the US, where high-profile court cases have seen whopping damages awarded against Monsanto, then Bayer, decisions in Australia will be made by a judge rather than a jury.
Mr Carbone was confident of achieving an outcome in his clients' favour.
"The body of scientific evidence is out there, then you look at the US, there are 42,000 cases, this is not an isolated incident."
One of the central assertions of the case, according to Mr Carbone, will be the lack of information Monsanto provided about potential risks.
He claimed there were no warnings about the need to use personal protection equipment when applying the chemical and that Monsanto had been misleading when describing the product as 'safer than table salt'.
Mr Maisano used the product to control weeds, remove thistle and for firebreaks.
Mr Carbone said the plaintiff regularly got the product on his skin.
The mainstream Australian farming remains united in its support of glyphosate.
Andrew Weidemann, Grain Producers Australia, said it was an essential tool in the Australian cropping system.
"We farm in the most arid continent in the world and while others may have the luxury of more cultivation to replace glyphosate if we did that you would see grain production fade away here, especially with the threat of climate change."
Duncan Young, WAFarmers grains section president, said he welcomed the case being heard under the Australian legal system.
"In Australia, unlike America, cases like this are actually done by a judge not a jury, so it is very different," Mr Young said.
"One would hope more there is more scientific rigour and consideration of the factual basis of the case rather than the emotive arguments that were prevalent in the US."
Mr Carbone said there were already around 100 litigants in the class action.
"We have scientific and medical evidence, we've got enough evidence to prove our point."