A draft report examining Australia's agricultural and veterinary chemical regulation framework has recommended improved health and safety measures for humans, animals and the environment, including a humaneness score on labels of pest control products.
On September 5, 2019, former Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie appointed an independent panel of experts in regulation, agricultural production, veterinary medicines and human health to review the regulatory framework of agvet chemicals.
Following discussions with industry stakeholders, the review was to assess the appropriateness of the current frameworks and consider current and future requirements, to increase the value of Australian agriculture.
The draft report highlighted the fundamental role pesticides and veterinary medicines or agvet chemicals, play in weed, pest and disease control.
The health impacts on humans, animals and the environment of the chemicals was a focus of the panel.
It found that increased health and safety protections, including improvements to the speed and transparency of chemical reviews would prove useful.
The panel also recommended additional measures to safeguard animal health and welfare.
"The panel also recommends the incorporation of a humaneness score on labels of vertebrate pest control products to inform consumers of animal welfare implications," the draft report said.
The national peak industry organisation for plant science, CropLife Australia, welcomed the Department of Agriculture's draft report.
CropLife Australia chief executive Matthew Cossey said the review provides an opportunity to modernise the agricultural chemical regulatory system, deliver genuine efficiency gains and ensure Australia maintains a world-class, competent regulator.
"The APVMA plays a crucial role in ensuring Australian farmers have access to safe, effective and modern crop protection products that enable them to farm more productively, profitably and sustainably," Mr Cossey said.
"These products are so crucial for our nation's environmental land managers combatting threats to our natural environment."
Among the panel's dozens of recommendations included the implementation of a national regulatory identity to deliver harmonised and consistent control-of-use regulation for agvet chemicals.
"The panel heard almost unanimously from stakeholders, that the biggest failing of the current regulatory system is the lack of national consistency in control-of-use functions," the draft report said.
The establishment of a single national law, administered by the Commonwealth, that would see it take responsibility for the supply and use of agvet chemicals was recommended.
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