Minister and new Safe Work Australia Chair initiate process for agvet chem labelling common sense to prevail

    16 May 2016

    CropLife Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Matthew Cossey, today commended Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, for intervening in an attempt to avoid unnecessary, duplicative labelling on agvet chemicals and have common sense prevail.

    Mr Cossey also commended the new Chair of Safe Work Australia, Ms Diane Smith-Gander, for committing to hold an extraordinary meeting of the Safe Work Australia Board to review the costly and confusing regulations that will undermine farmer and other agricultural worker safety.

    “Thanks to the efforts of Senator Michaelia Cash and the decision of Ms Smith-Gander, common sense may yet prevail and Australia’s existing worlds-best practice agvet chemical product regulatory system may yet be maintained.”

    “CropLife is concerned that the Safe Work Australia Board did not have available to it all the relevant information when the original decision was made. I am confident that when all the relevant material is reviewed they will decide that restoring the worlds-best practice agvet chemical product labelling regulatory system is in the best interest of worker safety and the Australian community.”

    “I’m particularly pleased that Senator Cash intends to consider amending the Commonwealth position and now it’s imperative on state governments that have imposed the duplicative labelling requirements to support her intentions for the sake of their own farming sectors and the safety of farmers and other agricultural workers. It’s vital for farmers and agricultural workers that the specific safe use labelling is not diluted and is strictly adhered to.”

    “It’s bad enough that it will undermine farmer safety, it adds insult to injury when it imposes an additional $58 million of red tape costs onto Australia’s farming sector which will be ultimately paid by consumers.”

    “Regulation that offers the best and most efficient outcomes for the protection of agricultural worker health and safety and that of food production is fundamental to the success of Australia’s agricultural sector and all available evidence from around the world points to the scientific, evidence-based risk assessment system used by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). This is in line with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ recommendation of a high-end technically proficient risk‑based critical assessment approach.”

    “The plant science industry has always supported the proper implementation of GHS labelling both in Australia and globally as intended in unregulated chemical sectors, but not as a measure to undermine jurisdictions such as Australia that already have an appropriate, independent, rigorous and technically proficient agricultural chemical regulator.

    “CropLife Australia looks forward to the meeting and having this unnecessary regulatory duplication removed before its too late,” concluded Mr Cossey.