In light of the Federal Agriculture Minister’s announcement today that a returned Coalition Government would relocate the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), Animal Medicines Australia (AMA) reiterated its concerns that the proposed relocation risks significant disruptions to industry.
“The availability of current and future innovative animal health products is paramount to a productive Australian agriculture sector”, AMA CEO Duncan Bremner said.
“Reducing the availability of such tools through an understaffed regulator reduces the productivity of Australian agriculture and ultimately diminishes the return that farmers receive.”
Mr Bremner said AMA’s well-publicised position against the relocation had always been about the potential loss of expert staff, and the difficulties of replenishing highly specialised technical capacity. “No one can deny that new regional jobs are a good thing. The issue is whether there will be the appropriate people available to ensure the APVMA can continue its vital function,” Mr Bremner said.
“And unfortunately based on the evidence provided to Senate Estimate hearings last year by the APVMA CEO that only seven of the APVMA’s 85 regulatory scientists were prepared to relocate, this highlights that our concerns are very real.”
Mr Bremner also raised concerns regarding the recently commissioned Cost Benefit Analysis into the proposed relocation.
“We are somewhat perplexed about the timing of the announcement given the cost benefit analysis of the proposal is due to be completed in a matter of days,” said Mr Bremner.
“As such it calls into question whether the $24.1 million committed towards the relocation and continuation of services is adequate, given this figure has been arrived at independently of the cost benefit analysis.”
“Ultimately, the simple request we have of the government is that they provide us with the assurance that the relocation will not be detrimental to the industries which rely on the APVMA to be an efficient and effective regulator, and as such, being the ‘gateway to market’ for our important products.”
Duncan Bremner 0448 822 666