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. A working group, the Agvet Chemical Relations Committee (ACRC), was established to progress these reforms, with membership from all states and territories, and the Australian and New Zealand governments.
In 2015 the ACRC was then re-organised into the Agvet Chemical Task Group (ACTG). In 2017, ACTG was renamed the Harmonised Agvet Chemical Control of Use Task (HACCUT) group, with a focus on implementing measures to improve harmonisation of control of use across jurisdictions.
Since 2010, HACCUT and its predecessors have developed proposals (and implemented those agreed by AGMIN) to address:
- minimum training requirements for users of restricted chemical products and schedule 7 chemicals (implementing)
- veterinary prescribing and compounding rights
- record keeping requirements for chemicals (implementing)
- access to chemical use (implemented)
- coordination of domestic residues
- harmonised Off-label use of agvet chemicals.
- remotely piloted aircraft systems
Table 1 contains details on the progress of implementation.
On 23 October 2020, National Cabinet accepted a number of recommendations following the Review of COAG Councils and Ministerial Forums (the Conran Review), including that the Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) would continue for 12 months, with four priorities:
- coordinate COVID-19 response and recovery around domestic border closures, agricultural workforce supply and industry issues
- deliver a coordinated workplan for Climate Change in Agriculture
- implement the National Drought Agreement
- strengthen key nationally significant biosecurity systems and infrastructure to reflect emerging risks.
National Cabinet also agreed sub-committees should be rationalised to better focus on advising on, and implementing, ministers’ policy decisions. To implement this rationalisation and focus, the Agriculture Senior Officials’ Committee (AGSOC) has agreed that HACCUT should finalise its existing work as soon as possible, with ministerial sign-off as appropriate.
Future measures will be progressed through ‘business as usual’ handling processes.
Table 1: Implementation status of harmonisation proposals approved by the Agriculture Ministers’ Forum (as of June 2021).
|Lower rate than on label1||Underway – completion expected in 2021||Complete||Complete||Complete||Complete||Complete||Complete||Partial2 – completion expected by 2021|
|Lower frequency than on labe1||Underway – completion expected in 2021||Complete||Complete||Complete||Complete||Complete||Complete||Partial2 – completion expected by 2021|
|Lower concentration than on the label1||Underway – completion expected in 2021||Complete||Complete||Complete||Complete||Complete||Complete||Partial2 – completion expected by 2021|
|Different pest than on label1||Underway – completion expected in 2021||Partial – completion expected in 2021||Complete||Complete||Complete||Complete||Complete||Partial2 – completion expected by 2021|
|Record keeping requirements (agricultural chemicals)||Underway – completion expected in 2021||Complete||Complete||Complete||Partial (needs expanding application to all chemicals). – completion expected by 2021||Complete||Underway- completion expected by 2021||Complete3|
|Minimum training and licencing requirements fee-for-service users||Pending4||Pending4||Pending4||Pending4||Pending4||Pending4||Pending4||Pending4|
|Minimum training requirements for users of Restricted Chemical Products and Schedule 7 chemicals||Underway – completion expected in 2021||Underway – completion expected by 2021||Complete||Minimum training for individual pest management technicians is complete.
Pest control business pending
|Underway – assessment of full implementation expected by 2021.||Complete||Underway – Full implementation expected by 2021||Partial – completion expected by 2021|
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.
3Record keeping requirements specified on the product label are not mandatory for most chemicals due to Victoria’s off-label controls. In practice, this has minimal impact due to current APVMA labelling policy. Implementation of this element may be achieved via more comprehensive off-label reforms.
4Licencing of pest control business will be progressed by the Environment Health Standing Committee (enHealth) as part of their 2020-23 work plan.