Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment Bill 2012; Consideration in Detail
by leave—I move amendments (2) to (27) as circulated in my name together:
(2) Schedule 1, item 7, page 5 (line 3), omit "re-approve, register, re-register", substitute "register".
(3) Schedule 1, item 7, page 5 (line 5), omit "application; or", substitute "application.".
(4) Schedule 1, item 7, page 5 (lines 6 to 8), omit paragraph (c) of the definition of determine in section 3.
(5) Schedule 1, item 26, page 8 (line 20), omit "29G,".
(6) Schedule 1, item 29, page 14 (lines 12 to 19), omit subsection 8B(2), substitute:
(2) The APVMA may specify information under subsection (1) only if the inclusion of the information would enable the APVMA to determine the application.
(7) Schedule 1, item 29, page 15 (lines 24 and 25), omit ", other than an application under section 29D".
(8) Schedule 1, item 29, page 15 (line 28), omit "29G,".
(9) Schedule 1, item 29, page 16 (line 4), omit "(or re-approves)".
(10) Schedule 1, item 29, page 16 (line 5), omit "(or re-registers)".
(11) Schedule 1, item 29, page 17 (lines 24 and 25), omit paragraph 8H(2)(c).
(12) Schedule 1, item 29, page 20 (line 23), omit "(or re-approves) or registers (or re-registers)", substitute "or registers".
(13) Schedule 1, item 30, page 24 (lines 30 and 31), omit subsection 9(5).
(14) Schedule 1, item 46, page 43 (lines 1 to 4), omit paragraph 29L(10)(b).
(15) Schedule 1, item 59, page 51 (lines 23 to 30), omit section 34AD.
(16) Schedule 1, item 59, page 52 (lines 30 to 32), omit subsection 34AE(6).
(17) Schedule 1, item 61, page 53 (lines 20 and 21), omit the item, substitute:
61 Paragraph 47(5)(a) of the Code set out in the Schedule
Repeal the paragraph, substitute:
(a) any condition of a kind referred to in subsection 23(3) to which an approval or registration is subject; and
(18) Schedule 1, item 213, page 79 (lines 15 to 25), omit the item.
(19) Schedule 1, item 221, page 81 (line 24), omit "29G(1),".
(20) Schedule 1, item 221, page 81 (lines 26 and 27), omit ", 29(2) or 29E(3)", substitute "or 29(2)".
(21) Schedule 1, item 225, page 82 (lines 27 to 30), omit paragraphs 167(1)(da) and (db).
(22) Schedule 2, page 85 (line 1) to page 99 (line 4), omit the Schedule.
(23) Schedule 3, item 315, page 259 (lines 5 and 6), omit ", paragraph 45A(1)(b) or section 47C", substitute "or paragraph 45A(1)(b)".
(24) Schedule 4, item 21, page 264 (line 14), omit ", 29A or 29G", substitute "or 29A".
(25) Schedule 4, item 37, page 271 (lines 25 to 31), omit the item.
(26) Schedule 4, item 40, page 272 (lines 8 to 17), omit paragraph 59(2)(e), substitute:
(e) the information was previously given to the APVMA other than as protected information and the use of the information is not limited by Division 4A of Part 2; or
(27) Schedule 4, item 44, page 273 (lines 2 and 3), omit ", other than under Division 3A of Part 2 (re-approving and re-registering)".
The amendments to the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 will remove the reregistration system from the bill. The coalition is strongly of the view that the only way to achieve the stated aim of the bill to increase efficiency and speed up the review of high-risk chemistries is to remove the reregistration process.
This bill is designed to give the green lobby designated time frames to concentrate on campaigns to have chemicals removed. For example, the campaigners will run a campaign on a chemical because of a tenuous link with a disease that is unscientific and force the APVMA to withdraw registration because of political pressure, not scientific fact. The reregistration system does not introduce any new triggers. It just makes the APVMA run a costly recheck of existing triggers. Contrary to the government's claims that the reregistration process will increase the scrutiny on suspect chemistries, the increase in the administrative workload with the APVMA staff will reduce regulatory body resources available to deal with critical registrations and permits.
The government has failed to do any cost-benefit analysis of mandatory reregistration processes for low-risk agvet chemicals with multiple uses, products such as glyphosate and iodine. It is obvious that, as a result of this expensive and time-consuming reregistration process, safe and effective chemicals will be deemed by registrants as not being economic to reregister in the small market of Australia, leading to a net loss of chemical products directly impacting on farm productivity.
Furthermore, the expensive, time-consuming registration process will drag resources from the regulatory ability to access high-risk chemicals and will further hinder its efficiency, in direct contradiction to the stated aims of the reform to increase efficiency and speed up review of high-risk chemicals. This concern has been heightened by the findings of the Deloitte Access Economics report commissioned by CropLife Australia that there will be an increase in costs of $8 million per year to product registrants that will have to be passed on to users. This is despite the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Penny Wong, listing agvet chemical reform as the second key example where the government would reduce regulatory compliance costs for businesses and improve competitiveness—'would reduce', not add to as this legislation will do.
Reforms need to address shortcomings of the existing chemical review process. Industry supports the streamlining of the existing process for identifying and reviewing suspect chemicals, but opposes the reregistration process which simply adds another layer of regulation that does not speed up the removal of unsafe chemicals.
I was to move amendments to delay the commencement period by 12 months, but I am happy to say that the government has listened to the industry, and to the opposition, and adopted our amendments to make that happen. However, I do have to say that the parliamentary secretary stated how well the government had listened to the industry. If that was the case, we would not need to move the amendment to take out the reregistration process from this bill.
I urge the reasoned and sensible members of the House to support the amendments to deliver a bill that provides an outcome that actually goes some way to delivering the long-spruiked efficiencies promised by the government and an improved agricultural and veterinary chemicals registration system. If the coalition is elected, I believe that there will be more work done—I know that there will be more work done—to improve chemical registration and once again make Australia a world leader in chemical registration, but, for now, we have to make the best of Labor's flawed reform process.