Chemicals review welcomed

Rueben HaleThe West Australian

Industry has welcomed a review into the regulation of agricultural chemicals and veterinary medicines, which could save the sector $1 billion a year.

The Federal Government has taken submissions from stakeholders aimed at improving what it says is poorly designed regulation of agricultural chemicals and veterinary medicines (agvet chemicals).

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has said poor regulation damages productivity, deters investment and undermines jobs and growth.

The department says that for primary producers, poorly designed regulation could delay or prevent the introduction of innovative chemical products and increase costs.

The second phase of the review has been completed with submissions received from WAFarmers and pastoralists as well as other industry groups.

In the submissions, industry contributed to discussions about using overseas decisions as a basis for registration, scope of regulation, removing efficacy assessments, removing trade assessments, crop grouping, contestable provision of assessment services, streamlining import and export regulation, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority chief executive as a poisons scheduling delegate and outstanding issues with legislation.

WAFarmers president Dale Park said big savings could be achieved by using chemical research work done overseas and by grouping similar crop commodities.

"The way the APVMA regulates chemicals and medicines for the industry is long overdue (reform)," he said.

"Currently it can be time consuming, impractical and very expensive for a small farming operation to test a chemical that may be required for their individual need.

There is absolutely no reason why our agricultural industry cannot utilise the research work carried out in other countries, rather than duplicate it here at added expense to the industry.

"Also, if there are crops or products with similar characteristics a lot of money could be saved by grouping them with like products which could have the same chemical treatment applied."

Mr Park also said product efficacy testing was a waste of money.

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