Productivity Commission’s Regulatory Efficiency Recommendations Crucial For Plant Science Innovations

    21 July 2016

    CropLife Australia has welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission’s draft report into Regulation of Australian Agriculture which highlights the importance of improving regulatory efficiency and removing unnecessary and duplicative regulations on agricultural chemical (agchem) and genetically modified (GM) crop innovation.

    Matthew Cossey, Chief Executive Officer of the CropLife Australia, today said “We welcome the recommendations that reinforce how crucial it is for Australian agriculture to improve efficiency in agchem regulations, such as better use of international evidence in assessments. The draft report also highlights how much work is still needed to improve regulatory efficiency to allow for innovation in a Australian agriculture.”

    “The recommendation to implement a national control-of-use regime for agvet chemicals (which includes increased harmonisation of off-label use provisions), with the aim of having the regime in place in all states and territories by the end of 2018, will align the regulatory requirements between all jurisdictions in Australia, removing duplication and inconsistencies and therefore unnecessary costs to industry.”

    “Given the 20 years of success in GM crops side-by-side with non-GM crops in Australia and internationally, the Commission’s recommendation that the New South Wales, South Australian, Western Australian, Tasmanian and Australian Capital Territory Governments remove their moratoria (prohibitions) on GM crops  by 2018 is one based on evidence and scientific facts.”

    “Farmers increasingly choose to grow GM crops despite vocal anti-science activist campaigns. Recent figures show 448,000 ha of GM canola planted this year, yet another increase in GM crop plantings, as farmers see the benefits of weed management and increased yields.”

    “The Commission’s further recommendation for an information campaign led by the responsible government regulators and agencies to provide accurate information about genetic modification seed breeding techniques is welcomed considering the significant amount of misleading and baseless claims made by well organised activist organsiations.”

    “Additional and unnecessary state-level regulations create inconsistencies in the market and hinder investment in agricultural innovations that prevent Australian farmers from having access to the latest innovative farming tools, negatively affecting market returns at the farm gate.”

    “A truly productive, competitive and sustainable agricultural industry in Australia requires regulatory oversight that is efficient, effective and where necessary commensurate with the risks, costs and benefits to the broader community.”

    “There were a number of further regulatory issues raised by CropLife that were summarised in the Commission’s report and we encourage the Commission to continue to engage with the plant science industry and the agricultural sector more broadly in the development of the final report. We then look forward to the Government’s action on the Commission’s recommendations,” concluded Mr Cossey.