APVMA board costly and unnecessary

    29 November 2019

    Labor and the Greens have raised deep concerns over the government’s plan to introduce a governance board for the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority. Their comments – based on unfair costs to farmers and duplication of management layers – are detailed in their dissenting reports to a Senate inquiry tabled yesterday evening.

    CropLife Australia Chief Executive Officer, Matthew Cossey, welcomed their views, “The plant science industry has been telling the government that adding this ill-considered and poorly planned additional layer of bureaucracy comes at too high a cost and does not address the core inefficiencies in the APVMA’s operations.

    “This is a price that will ultimately be paid by Australian farmers who should not be expected to pay more for crucial agricultural products as a result of unnecessary increased regulatory costs. This at a time when Australian farmers are doing it tough with drought is unacceptable.

    The Senate inquiry report into the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment (Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority Board and Other Improvements) Bill 2019 noted the establishment of the governance board would cost approximately $200,000 and a further $400,000 during its first year in running costs. The first year’s costs would be met through existing APVMA appropriations with subsequent annual costs met through the APVMA’s cost recovery arrangements.

    Mr Cossey continued, “It’s disappointing that the government has not taken the advice of the industries and farming sector that will be most impacted by the board. An APVMA governance board has been added to regulatory changes that had bi-partisan and industry support when they were passed by the House of Representatives more than 18 months ago.

    “There is no doubt that further improvements in management of the APVMA are required, however, it is clear the government has not properly considered the governance board as part of any genuine long-term reform package.

    “Labor and the Greens are to be commended for defending farmers from unnecessary regulatory costs when each day is a struggle.”

    Mr Cossey concluded, “We are calling on all crossbench Senators to join Labor and the Australian Greens and amend the Bill to remove the governance board and pass the other long‑awaited measures.”

    View the full report online.