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New legislation may restrict farmers’ access to agricultural chemicals

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New federal legislation was passed through parliament yesterday which will require chemical companies to re-register their products every 7- 15 years with Australia’s national chemical regulator, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

The Victorian Farmers Federation’s president Peter Tuohey, has warned that the cost to re-register could restrict the availability of chemicals in the Australia market and swamp APVMA who is already stretched for resources.

According to the VFF website, the previous legislation stated that chemicals only had to be reviewed if they posed environmental or health concerns drawn from peer-reviewed research.

“The risk is chemical companies just don’t bother re-registering products and think twice before introducing new products to the Australian market,” said Tuohey.

“The VFF has consulted CropLife and our commodity groups, who’ve warned chemical companies are likely to withdraw some chemicals from the Australian market rather than incur the costs of re-registration or simply pass the cost onto farmers.”

According to Tuohey, Australia is a relatively small market for chemical companies, and it is already challenging for framers to gain access to specific chemicals. He believes that the cost of mandatory re-registration will either be passed onto farmers or chemical companies will simply withdraw from the market.

The VFF had recently called upon Federal Agricultural Minister, Joe Ludwig to drop the legislation as two submissions made by VFF in 2012 opposing core elements of the legislation did not impact on proceedings.

The cost of re-registration is estimated to cost an additional $8 m per year according to study by consulting company Deloitte.

The legislation is due to come into effect 1 July 2014.

Image credit Teo via flickr

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