The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) performance statistics released today are of deep concern, with the regulator achieving only 50 per cent of work within statutory time frames for crop protection – down a dramatic 32 per cent from last quarter.

“This disappointing performance means farmers will have delayed access to the latest innovative crop protection farming tools, less choice in crop protection products, and will pay more due to the cost impost that these regulatory delays cause. This adds just another hurdle for our farmers being able to compete globally and seriously undermines the plant science industry’s capacity to support the nation’s farming sector,” said Mr Matthew Cossey, Chief Executive Officer of CropLife Australia.

“Australia is fortunate to have an independent, scientifically competent and technically proficient regulator; however, ongoing issues relating to efficiency and operational performance must be addressed as a matter of priority. Having only just recovered from an all time performance low 12 months ago, this fall comes as a real blow to the plant science industry and the nation’s agricultural sector.”

“It is clear that urgent and significant action is required to address the impacts that the proposed relocation of the authority is already having, as well as investment in creating a world-leading next generation regulator that is significantly more efficient.”

“CropLife Australia and the plant science industry welcome public statements by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce, about future significant investment in the APVMA as part of building a centre of excellence for agricultural chemistry based in Armidale. However, that will all be for nothing if in the meantime the regulator’s performance puts Australia’s farmers a generation behind in the essential chemistry for modern farming. It’s important to remember that farmers access of crop protection products directly underpin more than AUD$18 billion of Australia’s crop production.”

“The challenge in delivering this innovation for farmers is already hard enough. It now takes over 11 years of research and development, requiring the testing of more than 140,000 compounds, costing more than US$286 million to bring just one new successful crop protection product to the market, and a third of those costs are directly related to regulation.”

“CropLife and its members remain committed to working with the government to achieve their vision regarding the centre of excellence, but the APVMA and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources need to take urgent action and constructively contribute to solutions and initiatives to address the consequences of relocation and implement genuine regulatory efficiency,” Mr Cossey concluded.

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