Federal Budget Delivers Necessary Commitments To Improve Australian Farmers’ Access To Crucial Crop Protection Products But New Board Costs Should Not Be Met By Industry

    9 May 2018

    CropLife Australia welcomes the Government’s budget commitment today of a further smart and responsible investment to improve Australian farmers’ access to crucial crop protection products.

    Matthew Cossey, Chief Executive Officer of the national peak organisation for Australia’s plant science sector, CropLife Australia, today said “the government’s continued support for the registration of agricultural chemical products for minor uses and specialty crops with a further funding commitment of $6.3 million over two years will continue what will be a profitable investment in Australia’s agricultural sector.”

    “Minister Littleproud is to be congratulated for his work in ensuring Australian farmers have access to the tools and products essential to remaining competitive in a challenging global agricultural industry while meeting the food security challenges of the future.”

    “The Government’s initial four-year $8 million investment in the ‘Improved Access to Agvet Chemicals’ initiative in 2013 was an important and responsible decision, helping to alleviate the regulation-generated market failure. This failure results from the high costs associated with registering products for minor uses and specialty crops not being offset by the volume of sales.

    “An analysis of the US specialty crops program showed that every dollar spent by government in assisting specialty growers in the US returned more than $500 to the economy. The US model, which has been in place for more than 50 years, also facilitates greater investment by the private sector and as a result both US agriculture and tax payers win,” said Mr Cossey.

    “The $10.1 million federal budget commitment towards the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) digital strategy is also welcomed and will hopefully go a long way in streamlining important agricultural chemical regulatory activities. It is vitally important that this funding is, however, mapped specifically to the requirements of the APVMA following relocation to Armidale, thereby enabling the APVMA to become a next generation regulator,” said Mr Cossey.

    “The budget funding for the digital strategy should underpin genuine efficiency by the regulator in its crucial role of ensuring Australian farmers have timely access to innovative products and tools to help them farm more efficiently and sustainably for a growing global population.”

    “It is concerning however to see the cost of establishing a Governing Board for the APVMA being imposed on the industry. With the regulator funded by industry, these extra costs on farm gate are not needed by farmers and it is difficult to conceive how another level of bureaucracy, absent of other reforms, will achieve efficiency in the regulatory system.”

    “If the Board is meant to deliver genuine efficiency then the legislation required to form the new Board should be placed in the next proposed tranche of regulatory reforms that is intended to streamline regulatory operations of the APVMA,” concluded Mr Cossey.