Domestic policy

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is responsible for leading the development of national policy on agricultural and veterinary chemicals (agvet chemicals).

Agvet chemicals include a range of products primarily developed to protect crops, livestock and domestic animals. They have brought long term benefits to Australian agriculture by reducing the effects of weeds, pests and diseases on agricultural and forest production. This has led to increased productivity, better quality produce and more competitive industries. Access to veterinary chemicals also supports the health of Australian domestic and companion animals.

The Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994 empowers the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) to regulate agvet chemicals up to the point of retail sale, to protect human, animal health and safety and the environment. In partnership with states and territories, the APVMA is responsible for protecting the Australian community from the risk of agvet chemicals. The definitions of agvet chemicals are set out in the Act.

An agreement between the Australian Government and the states and territories establishing the National Registration Scheme requires the department to consult with all parties to the agreement on changes to agvet legislation. The department consults with the states and territories through the Agvet Chemicals Task Group (ACTG). The ACTG oversees the implementation of reforms to agricultural chemicals and veterinary medicines, control of use regulation and identies areas for future reform. Membership of the ACTG comprises of representatives from each state and territory and the Australian Government. The ACTG directly reports to the Agriculture Senior Officials’ Committee (AGSOC) and through AGSOC to the Agriculture Ministers’ Forum.

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