27 November 2018
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) performance statistics for the September 2018 quarter, released today, show that crop protection product assessment and registration timeframe performance has returned to 2014-15 levels.
Mr Matthew Cossey, Chief Executive Officer of CropLife Australia, said, “Industry is very glad to see the performance return to previous levels and commends the APVMA on clearing a backlog of applications.
“Following the announcement the APVMA would relocate to Armidale, timeframe performance for pesticide approvals plunged from 81 per cent to its low point of 24 per cent in the June 2017 quarter.
“This quarter’s recovery to 80 per cent for pesticide product applications is a return to performance before the announcement of the relocation, which saw the loss of experienced regulatory scientists and had a significant impact on operational performance.”
Mr Cossey continued, “It is disappointing that timeframe performance remains below statutory obligations. We will continue to support the regulator to improve operational efficiency by seeking long-overdue structural, regulatory and legislative improvements.
“While there is improvement in some areas, timeframe performance for critical new and innovative product applications that will significantly drive Australian farming productivity has dropped to 44 per cent.”
Mr Cossey noted the assessment and registration of crop protection products is the substantive component of the APVMA’s work and timeliness is crucial to ensuring Australian farmers have access to important agricultural tools.
At a Senate Inquiry hearing last week the APVMA confirmed just six of its 90 regulatory scientists had relocated to Armidale. This loss of experience and institutional knowledge represents a real risk to the agency’s operation. The recently announced retention of a Canberra office will help to minimise some of this impact.
Mr Cossey concluded, “It is essential that improvement is sustained, particularly as the agency completes its relocation to Armidale next year. The plant science and farming sectors must not be disadvantaged further by the ongoing disruption to APVMA operations.”