Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce has announced the release of draft legislation which he says will stop another layer of duplicative and unnecessary red tape burdening users of agricultural and veterinary chemicals.
“Our farmers use chemicals responsibly to grow food and fibre that sustains the nation – as well as the world,” Minister Joyce said.
“We need a regulatory system that supports the responsible use of chemicals – whether veterinary, fungicides, herbicides or insecticides.
“Chemicals are important tools for our primary producers because they contribute so significantly to our agricultural productivity and profitability, and in many cases reduce our environmental footprint.
“Industry has published estimates that the regulatory costs will increase by more than $8 million a year from 1 July 2014 if the current Labor legislation isn’t amended – all for no discernible benefit to the community.
“This consultation is an important step in the agriculture space for the government to achieve its promise to cut the cost of red and green tape by $1 billion a year.
“Farmers need the government to listen to them and stop unnecessary agvet chemical regulation that increases costs and paperwork – two things that may make re-registration of low risk, cheap and off-patent chemicals uneconomically viable.
Submissions on future cost recovery arrangements for the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) are being invited until 7 March 2014.
Mr Joyce said his department was focusing on speeding up APVMA processes to make new safe, effective chemistries available to farmers and a program to provide $8 million to support minor use chemical registration.”
The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) said the draft legislation was a welcome move.
“The Minister has stressed that while we certainly need a regulatory system that supports the responsible use of chemicals, we also need one that allows our farmers to operate without unnecessary additional time and cost imposts,” NFF chief executive officer Matt Linnegar said.
“Chemicals are a critically important part of our farm businesses – helping us to manage pests and diseases that would otherwise threaten our food and fibre production – and ensuring farmers have access to chemicals that are safe, affordable and effective is vital.
“We thank the Minister for releasing draft legislation to do just that, and we urge all farmers to have their say during the public consultation period.
The draft legislation is available for public comment until 7 March 2014 at www.daff.gov.au/agvet.
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