The Federal Government is improving access to safe and effective agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemicals, with almost $2.5 million in grants approved for priority uses, including for citrus fruit, field peas and dairy cattle.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the grants will help fast-track new products and approve greater uses of existing chemicals, to give growers and farmers better access to a broader range of chemicals.
“Agvet chemicals stop the spread of disease amongst our livestock and boost our productivity by eliminating damaging pests and diseases from our agricultural produce,” Minister Joyce said.
“This funding will enable rural research and development corporations to generate data to support applications for new chemical uses to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
“Applications will seek to gain permanent access to new uses of a chemical and maintain, broaden or gain new access to a use through a minor use permit, which provides greater flexibility to farmers and may lead to better environmental outcomes.”
The 51 approved grants, shared among Horticulture Innovation Australia, the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and Dairy Australia, will address many of the priority uses, including for citrus fruit, game birds, dairy cattle, tropical and sub-tropical fruits.
Minister Joyce said this second round of grants are part of the Coalition’s four-year $8 million investment to improve access to safe and effective agvet chemicals, including work to establish an official Australian crop grouping list and associated APVMA guidelines; migrate some APVMA permits to product labels; and establish agvet collaborative forums.
“Ensuring farmers have access to agvet chemicals that are both effective and safe is crucial to our agricultural and livestock industries, the community and the environment,” Minister Joyce said.
“Australia is a relatively small market, which can sometimes mean that the cost involved in registering an agvet chemical makes the venture uncommercial.
“This funding will help Australian producers access the same new and innovative agvet chemicals as some of their international competitors.”
Minister Joyce said the Coalition Government has worked hard to make agvet chemicals as readily available and cost effective as possible.
“We have abolished the previous Labor government introduced re-approval and re-registration policies that industry calculated would cost $9 million annually and reduce farmer’s access to chemicals, whilst having no positive impact on health and safety,” Minister Joyce said.
“The $8 million minor use commitment complements the $17.1 million white paper reforms, the relocation of the APVMA to Armidale to develop a centre of excellence and the pet food and stock feed reforms to provide our agricultural industries with efficient access to chemicals in a contemporary regulatory environment.”
A third grant round is being developed for 2017-18.