28 November 2012
The Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment Bill, introduced into Parliament today, contains some important reforms, but falls well short of delivering any red tape reduction or efficiencies into the regulatory system.
The significant structural changes that have been made to the existing legislation mean that a thorough, detailed assessment of the legislation and its potential effects is absolutely essential.
CropLife Australia CEO, Matthew Cossey commended Minister Ludwig for his clear commitment to genuine consultation during this reform process and expressed hope that for the sake of Australia’s farmers, this commitment continues during these final stages of reform.
“If this Bill passes without significant improvements, our nation’s farmers may lose access to safe and effective products on which they depend to run high yielding, environmentally sustainable and profitable farms. The consequences of this for Australian agriculture will be significant and far-reaching”, Mr Cossey said.
“Government has come a long way to have arrived at the Bill in its current form, but there is still a long way to go. A number of essential reforms remain unaddressed. Despite the government’s rhetoric about cutting red tape, out of 287 pages of amendments, we are still faced with reforms that have not removed one single rule, process or regulation, and several new ones have been added.
“These final stages before the Bill passes into law should be about getting it right, not rushing it”, Mr Cossey continued.
“The Parliamentary Committees should be given sufficient time to hear the concerns of the agricultural sector. In its current form, the Bill will create a regulatory framework that inhibits agricultural innovation and productivity, at a time when the shortage of healthy, safe food around the world is reaching a critical level.
“An unnecessarily high regulatory burden and the associated costs compared to other markets around the world will also place an excessive handicap on Australian farmers.
“Australia’s plant science industry remains committed to working with government and the parliament to ensure that these reforms will actually assist in safeguarding the international trade competitiveness of Australia’s farming sector and help increase our contribution to global food security.” Mr Cossey concluded.