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NFF backs the government’s response to the APVMA review

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National Farmers’ Federation, Media Release, 17 April 2024

The National Farmers’ Federation welcomes the Federal Government’s well-considered response to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) review.

NFF Chief Executive Officer Tony Mahar said it was imperative to the farm sector the APVMA gets back on track and empowering Ken Matthews AO’s review into the Authority’s future structure and governance was a step in the right direction. 

“Access to safe, effective, innovative technologies underpins agricultural productivity, sustainability and competitiveness,” Mr Mahar said.

“Timely access to world leading agvet chemicals is critical to achieving agriculture’s ambition of $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030. 

“Any reforms to the APVMA must seek to ensure a genuinely fit-for-purpose and efficient regulatory environment that manage risk without hindering access to safe technologies.”

The NFF has long expressed reservations about the relocation of the APVMA to Armidale and the review confirms these strong concerns were realised.

“We 100 per cent support building stronger regions, but regional development must be strategic and part of an evidence-driven plan to build the entire economy.

“The NFF supports the Minister’s decision against relocating the APVMA back to Canberra. Reversing the decision would likely only cause further negative impacts for the organisation’s ongoing services, performance and business.

“It is critical the APVMA manages long term operational costs and risks to ensure that operating out of two offices, in Armidale and Canberra, does not impact the timely delivery of core services.”

The NFF notes the Minister’s decision to retain the APVMA Board and maintain the independence of the organisation from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. 

“It’s vital improved governance arrangements must translate to improvement in the APVMA’s consistent and timely performance. 

“Timely access to safe and innovative technologies and agvet chemicals is critical to farm productivity. Any delays to the assessment or registration of products can rake up millions of dollars in preventable crop losses.”

The NFF will continue to work closely with the APVMA, the Federal Government and industry stakeholders to pursue robust reforms which support Australian agriculture to thrive. 

“We urge the Government to continue to work closely with the industry to inform decisions on the other recommendations,” Mr Mahar concluded.

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