Good AgVet policy crucial to ag competitiveness

NSW Farmers View - The Land

By Reg Kidd – Chair AgVet Chemicals Committee

Ensuring Australia has an appropriate regulatory framework for agricultural and veterinary chemicals is an issue NSW Farmers and NFF have engaged in over many years. 

Key to this policy is ensuring that in maintaining the health and safety of our farmers, consumers and the environment, we also maintain access to safe and effective chemicals that help drive the competitiveness of Australia’s farm sector.

NSW Farmers supports a bill the government has in the Senate to remove unnecessary red tape imposed through a re-registration scheme. We are pleased to see a bipartisan approach with the Labor party indicating it will not oppose the bill.

The bill is important because Australia’s small footprint in the global market for agricultural chemicals (1-2%) influences the value global plant science companies put on our market. 

Where our regulatory processes require unnecessary red tape, we threaten the use of safe and effective chemicals that our farmers rely upon plus the introduction of new chemicals that will could drive productivity and are lower risk. 

With 68 percent of the value of Australia’s horticultural, grain and fodder industries already protected by agricultural chemicals, the risk is ultimately our competitiveness against other agricultural producing nations.

The bill continues the strong standards that protect humans and the environment, but enables Australia’s science based agricultural chemical regulator, the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority, to focus its attention on the chemicals that present the most risk. 

It does this through its chemical review process which monitors domestic and international scientific literature and incidents and the decisions of other regulators to consider if any chemicals used in Australia present risks that are not adequately managed by the regulations around their use.  Through the review program the APVMA has increased its involvement in international forums over the years which has strengthened international relations.

Where it finds a registered chemical no longer meets contemporary safety standards, the APVMA can reconsider whether a chemical should remain registered. Reconsideration could result in the chemical either losing its registration, or a change the way it must be used to ensure its safety.

NSW Farmers will continue to work with all sides of politics to see the implementation of good agvet policy with bipartisan support. Our goal is maintaining health and safety at the same time as ensuring our ongoing competitiveness.

3 July 2014

Contact: Justin Crosby

Phone: 02 9478 1074

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