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The government’s response to the Matthews Review into the governance of the AVPMA is a welcome opportunity to ensure the regulator can operate in the best interests of Australian agriculture.

GrainGrowers CEO, Shona Gawel said the report was an important step in maintaining our strong, independent, evidence-based regulatory system.

Ms Gawel said GrainGrowers will be working through the detail of the response to better understand the implications for our industry and looks forward to working with the Government and other industry stakeholders to implement the findings.

“While it is ultimately up to the government to consider the findings and take whatever steps it sees fit to move forward, any changes cannot be to the detriment of industries who rely on a robust regulatory process to deliver timely access to innovative products.”

Ms Gawel said that the safe and appropriate use of agricultural chemicals were vital to Australian grain farming, delivering food security, economic stability, and environmental sustainability.

“Our position is that we need a regulatory system that is free from commercial, political or ideological interference. We also need a system that is independent and science-based. These elements in combination not only provide access to appropriate products but do so in a way that ensures integrity in the eyes of the public and our commercial trading partners.”

“Where changes are made, the APVMA must still maintain important core elements and avoid imposing additional cost or disruption to the delivery of regulatory assessments.”

Ms Gawel acknowledged the concerns raised by a number of growers about the recent delays experienced in the registration of new chemical products, which has prevented them from being brought to market in time for this season.

“The APVMA has been subject to significant public scrutiny over the past few months, and its performance record on product and permit approvals has slipped. It is important that the organisation can now focus on developing a performance culture and improve on the delivery of its functions.”

Ms Gawel said Australian grain growers were at a disadvantage due to the relatively small size of the Australian market and should not be further disadvantaged by underperformance of the regulator.

“Competitor markets, such as the OECD, United States and European Union, are each around seven times larger. Even now, our farmers are lagging behind or missing out on access to crop protection products used in those markets.”

“As the government moves ahead with reforms it is vital that we continue to maintain public confidence in the system and ensure innovations can be delivered to farmers efficiently and effectively.”

Ms Gawel welcomed the decision not to relocate the organisation.

“While the location is largely irrelevant in meeting our requirements, a move could have resulted in further disruption with the loss of experienced staff from the organisation and trigger delays to the regulatory process. This announcement will allow continuity in the function of the organisation.”

Ms Gawel said GrainGrowers was looking to work cooperatively with the government to ensure any changes to the regulatory arrangements considered the needs of the grains industry.


Media contact: Chris Rowley

P: 0415 140 253 | Email