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Grain Producers Australia says the alarm bells raised about the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority’s (APVMA) diminishing performance record must be acted on urgently with the Federal Government facing a challenge to now deliver genuine and robust reforms.

GPA RD&E Spokesperson and Southern Region Grower Director, Andrew Weidemann AM, said an interview on ABC Radio today raised serious questions that need to be answered about the Authority’s impact on farm productivity and competitiveness, with delays in product registrations.

This comes after answers provided to questions on notice at recent Senate Estimates revealed the APVMA’s performance record had slipped for the 6th successive quarter; as shown by statistics measuring the delivery of product registrations and approvals, according to statutory timeframes.

Mr Weidemann said these delays had real consequences for the livelihoods of Australian farmers and the community – and the APVMA’s performance needed to be dealt with properly.

“It’s extremely disappointing to hear these delays in product and permit approvals are continuing to worsen – but farmers aren’t the only ones in the firing line of this drop in performance,” he said.

“These products not only ensure farmers can manage pests and diseases properly, and the different seasonal challenges we face to remain productive, they’re also essential to deliver environmental sustainability and income generation for the nation and rural communities.

“It’s also very, very frustrating to hear the APVMA’s performance is causing delays in registering major products needed to manage crown rot, which, if we don’t have it in time this season, could cost the Australian grain sector about $400 million in lost productivity, just this year.”

Mr Weidemann said these products were critical to manage other pests and diseases such as fall armyworm, which was also hurting producers in different grain producing regions right now.

He said in July 2023, GPA had also raised similar concerns about the need to support farm productivity and economic activity with real reforms, after it was revealed a rapid evaluation of the APVMA was occurring.

A report that was due to be tabled by September 30 last year, is due to provide recommendations on future governance, structure and funding arrangements.

“GPA members continue to support an independent, evidence based and scientifically focused regulator that’s operating as efficiently as it should and can be,” he said.

“We need to ensure the balance is right and farmers are not being hindered by substandard performance, which denies access to the tools we need to protect our crops and the environment.

“The concerns of Australian grain producer leaders about the APVMA’s performance were also discussed at the recent GPA Policy Council meeting, and our views on this issue were also conveyed directly in a meeting held with Agriculture Minister, Murray Watt.

“We continue to anticipate this review report and the government’s response, to meet the challenge they’ve set themselves, and expectations raised, to deliver genuine, lasting reforms to the APVMA.”

Answers to the Senate Estimates questions showed that only 78.3 per cent of assessments for major applications were completed on-time for the quarter ending December 2023.



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