Senate report backs APVMA’s independence

NSW Farmers has welcomed the final report of the Senate Inquiry into independence of regulatory decisions made by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

Chair of NSW Farmers’ Agricultural Science committee, David Mailler, said that the report confirms what many in the industry know – that the APVMA is an independent and science-driven organisation, critical to the ongoing productivity and profitability of Australia’s agricultural sector. 

“The report found no clear evidence of instances that showed undue influence or bias, or regulatory capture,” Mr Mailler said. 

Mr Mailler said that many issues raised by NSW Farmers in its written submission and hearing evidence were reflected in the final report, including support for cost-recovery, the importance of innovation and investment, and the safety of glyphosate when used in accordance with label instructions. 

“The final report shared our view that the APVMA’s assessment of the safety of glyphosate being sound, and that there is no need to reconsider its availability. 

“Glyphosate is a key tool for farmers, and we’re on the front line of any concerns about safety. This report shows that farmers can maintain trust in the APVMA to provide effective advice on glyphosate and other critical chemicals.”

While the relocation of the APVMA was a consideration of the inquiry, Mr Mailler said it is time to move on, for the benefit of chemical users and the general public.

“NSW Farmers didn’t support moving the APVMA to Armidale, but it’s now important that we look at the performance of the organisation and reducing disruption to its critical work. 

“The focus for the APVMA should be on implementing the recommendations of the 2017 review of performance, as well as the recommendations from this inquiry.”

Mr Mailler said that the APVMA needed to be adequately funded to carry out timely assessment of applications, maintain scientific rigour, and ensure ongoing consultation with industry and communities.

“The most important thing is that we have ongoing access to safe chemicals and products. We believe that the APVMA is delivering on this, and that it needs to be left to get on with the job.

Date: Tuesday 5 February 2019
Media Contact:   Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988