New legislation passed through the Senate this week will ensure Australian farmers retain access to safe and effective farm chemicals—an outcome strongly welcomed by the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF).
The legislation, titled the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment (Removing Re-approval and Re-registration) Bill 2014, will ease the unnecessary regulatory burden imposed on Australian agriculture, by removing the requirement to re-register already approved safe and effective chemicals used on Australian farms.
Chair of the NFF Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Taskforce, Reg Kidd, was pleased to see bipartisan support had been given for the legislation. The NFF commended the Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce, on the passage of the legislation, and thanked Shadow Minister Joel Fitzgibbon, for his support on this important matter.
“We have been very clear in calling for a streamlined approach to regulation, including the removal of mandatory re‑registration. The new laws are a win for the NFF and its members, as we further push for sound public policy and removal of red tape holding the sector back,” said Mr Kidd.
“Under this legislation, we will see farmers continue to have access to affordable chemicals that are proven to be safe and effective. At the same time, regulators can now focus on managing real risks to human and environmental health, without getting bogged down in bureaucracy.
“Farmers understand effective regulation is necessary. It safeguards businesses, our environment and our communities. Poorly designed regulation, however, can act like a tax on business, raising costs and stifling innovation,” said Mr Kidd.
Australia has one of the strongest and most robust chemical regulatory systems in the world. It already includes a chemical review program, to assess any chemicals that members of the community are concerned with. The amendments announced today will help simplify and enhance the existing program, not duplicate existing functions.
“Chemicals are a critically important part of modern agriculture—helping farmers to manage pests and diseases that would otherwise threaten food and fibre production.
“Here in Australia, we are proud to have a farm chemical regulatory system based on real science that Australians can trust, whether they be farmers, neighbours or consumers. It is heartening to see the Australian Government and opposition working together to support the efficacy of our current system,” said Mr Kidd.