Reforms to regulation of agricultural chemicals and veterinary medicines

​Reforms to regulation of agricultural chemicals and veterinary medicines

The Australian Government is implementing reforms to the regulation of agricultural chemicals and veterinary medicines (agvet chemicals) for the benefit of the community, manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, retailers and users of agvet chemicals. The government has committed to easing the burden imposed on the Australian economy and agricultural sector by reducing red and green tape on business by at least $1 billion per year.

Reforms to agvet chemical regulation aim to reduce red tape for farmers and other businesses and encourage the development of new chemistry. The reforms are expected to bring a a range of benefits for farmers and other users, the environment and the community, while retaining protections for the health and safety of humans, animals and the environment.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is the Australian Government regulator responsible for registration, quality assurance and compliance of agvet chemicals up to and including the point of retail sale.

The APVMA is responsible for implementation of changes to agvet chemicals legislation. Further information about the APVMA can be found through its website.

Future reform

Industry, community, users and the government have identified a number of potential reform opportunities for improving regulation of agvet chemicals. The Department of Agriculture is prioritising and developing suitable future reforms in consultation with stakeholders. Please contact us if you would like to contribute to the development of future reforms. Our contact details are below.

Current reform proposal – Amending regulation of animal feeds as veterinary chemical product

The Department of Agriculture (the department) has been working with some animal feed industry, livestock industry and other stakeholders to develop options to reform the regulation of certain stockfeed and pet food products currently regulated by the APVMA.

The department has developed a draft regulatory impact statement (RIS) and draft amendments to the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Regulations 1995 (the Principal Regulations) to further inform the government’s eventual decision about this reform. Links to the RIS and draft amendments are below. The draft amendments should be read in conjunction with the existing Principal Regulations and are not a compilation of the Principal Regulations if amended.

The department seeks written stakeholder comments on both the RIS and draft amendments. The closing date for submissions is 7 November 2014.​

The department is seeking stakeholder views on the following questions:

  1. Does the RIS accurately reflect the issues surrounding the regulation of stockfeed and pet food that are currently regulated veterinary chemical products?
  2. Which RIS option do you prefer?
  3. Will any specific RIS option better encourage new products to enter the Australian market? If yes, how soon would new products be introduced? What effect will the introduction of new products have on the market for stockfeed and pet food products?
  4. Are the assumptions about regulatory costs (presented in RIS Annex A) accurate?
  5. Will the preferred option in the RIS improve the balance between regulatory cost and the risks of using stockfeed and pet food products?
  6. What changes, if any, to the preferred option in the RIS are required?
  7. What costs, if any, are increased under the preferred option in the RIS? Are these costs reduced more under another option?
  8. What risks, if any, are increased under the preferred option in the RIS? Are these risks reduced more under another option?
  9. Considering the criteria for excluded nutritional and digestive products in the draft regulations (see clauses @5 to @8 on pages 7 to 13):
    1. On ingredients—the preferred option in the RIS does not require that direct fed microbial ingredients of stockfeed and pet food products be treated differently to other kinds of ingredients. Should this be changed so that direct fed microbial ingredients instead require registration? If yes, why? (see clause @5)
    2. On labelling—should a crude nutrient analysis (describing every ingredient of the product) or a key nutrient analysis (where only ingredients that relate to claims made about the product) be required? Should the analysis be as is required for human foods? (see clause @7(1)(d))
    3. On manufacturing—are there other quality assurance requirements that could be included that are the equivalent of those already described? (see clause @8)

Please note these questions are also detailed in section 1 of the RIS.

The draft amendments also include (at schedule 2) proposed changes to the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Regulations 1992  to align with Australia’s international obligations under the Rotterdam Convention for export of azinphos-methyl. Comments may also be made in relation to this reform. The Office of Best Practice Regulation has previously provided an exemption from the need for a RIS on these matters as they are considered mechanical in nature.

All responses (except where confidentiality issues are identified by the author/submitter and accepted by the department) will be made available through the department’s website. Personal details other than the author’s name and organisation (if any) will not be published. If any information contained in a submission should be treated as confidential, the author should clearly identify the sensitive information and provide reasons for treating it in-confidence.

Submission should be made to Agvet Reform.

The department will acknowledge the receipt of all submissions, but will not formally reply to each submission.

Recent reforms

Reforms introduced in the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment Act 2013 commenced on 1 July 2014.

These reforms:

  • improve the efficiency and effectiveness of assessment processes for applications and for reconsiderations
  • enhance the consistency and transparency of assessments and reconsiderations
  • improve the ability of the regulator to enforce compliance with its regulatory; and
  • encourage industry to provide data to support ongoing registration of agvet chemicals and permit applications.

The Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation (Removing Re-approval and Re-registration) Amendment Act 2014 gives effect to the government’s commitment remove the requirement for agvet chemicals to be periodically re-approved and re-registered. It also

  • provides for less frequent registration renewal
  • improves the APVMA’s ability to secure information about the safety of chemicals supplied in the market to improve health and safety and compliance
  • streamlines access to information about approvals and registration in the APVMA’s files
  • addresses some minor implementation issues identified in existing reform legislation.

Further information about the APVMA’s implementation of these reforms can be found on its website.

Further information:

Email: Agvet Reform