The Harmonised Agvet Chemical Control of Use Task group (HACCUT)

In 2010, in response to a request from the Council of Australian Governments, the Agriculture Ministers’ Forum (AGMIN) and the Agriculture Senior Officials’ Committee (AGSOC) agreed to develop a single national framework to harmonise the regulation of agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemicals. In 2017, in response to the Productivity Commission’s report, AGMIN also agreed to nationally harmonise off-label use of agvet chemicals.

AGMIN established HACCUT to deliver the single national framework and agreed to a four year timeframe for HACCUT to implement AGMIN-approved proposals.

Membership

HACCUT, previously known as the Agvet Chemical Task Group, consists of representatives from all state and territories, and the Australian and New Zealand governments’. It is observed by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

The national framework

HACCUT is developing proposals to deliver the single national framework, which consists of:

  • a harmonised licence scheme for fee-for-service users of agvet chemicals, including cross-jurisdictional recognition
  • mandatory record-keeping of chemical use
  • mandatory competency requirements for fee-for-service users and users of Restricted Chemical Products and Schedule 7 poisons (dangerous poisons)
  • harmonised veterinary prescribing and compounding rights
  • harmonised off-label use of agvet chemicals
  • improving the national coordination of produce monitoring for chemical residues in domestic produce.

The national framework will:

  • improve the consistency of access to agvet chemicals and the regulatory requirements for using agvet chemicals
  • reduce compliance costs for businesses that operate across state and territory boundaries
  • benefit agricultural exports by providing a consistent platform for chemical use, residue management and increased traceability.

Progress update

As of October 2020, HACCUT has implemented or developed proposals for the majority of the national framework. Table 1 contains progress information about the AGMIN-approved proposals. The remaining proposals are being prepared for submission to AGSOC.

Table 1: Implementation status of harmonisation proposals approved by the Agriculture Ministers’ Forum (as of October 2020).

Reform  ACT NSW QLD WA SA NT TAS VIC
Lower rate than on label1 Underway – completion expected in 2020 Complete Complete Complete Complete Complete Complete Underway2  – completion expected by 2021
Lower frequency than on label1 Underway – completion expected in 2020 Complete Complete Complete Complete Complete Complete Underway2  – completion expected by 2021
Lower concentration than on the label1 Underway – completion expected in 2020 Complete Complete Complete Complete Complete Complete Underway2 – completion expected by 2021
Different pest than on label1 Underway – completion expected in 2020 Underway –  completion expected in 2021 Complete Complete Complete Complete Complete Underway2 – completion expected by 2021
Record keeping requirements (agricultural chemicals) Underway – completion expected in 2020 Complete Complete Pending Underway – completion expected by 2021  Complete Underway- completion expected by 2021 Complete
Minimum training requirements for users of Restricted Chemical Products and Schedule 7 chemicals3 Underway – completion expected in 2020 Underway – completion expected by 2020 Complete Pending Underway – completion expected by 2021. Complete Underway – completion expected 2021. Underway – completion expected by 2021
Initial set of off-label measures (AGMIN-agreed 2019) Underway – completion expected in 2023 Underway – completion expected in 2023 Underway – completion expected in 2023 Underway – completion expected in 2023 Underway – completion expected in 2023 Underway – completion expected in 2023 Underway – completion expected in 2023 Underway – completion expected in 2023

1Off-label use of herbicides and vertebrate poisons are excluded.
2Complete for most chemicals, but reforms are yet to be implemented for ‘restricted use’ chemicals.
3Harmonisation of minimum licencing requirements of pest control business will be progressed by the Environment Health Standing Committee.

Last reviewed: 23 October 2020
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