THE Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority says it has successfully handled a record number of applications for new agricultural chemical and veterinary medicine approvals during the September quarter.
The regulator has been under close scrutiny this year following a run of performance statistics well below the requirements of its obligated time frames to assess and approve new product applications, amid a forced relocation from Canberra to Armidale and the loss of a number of key specialist staff.
In the July quarter the regulator achieved only 24 per cent of work within statutory timeframes for crop protection pesticide product registrations, down on the previous low of 30 per cent set one quarter earlier.
CropLife Australia, which represents the plant science industry, said the time the regulator’s failure to meet its obligated timeframes for more than three quarters of crop protection product registration applications was “plainly unacceptable”.
“Australian farmers are now missing out on a significant number of important agricultural products, putting them at a massive disadvantage to their international competitors. This will be the cause of Australian farmers losing at least hundreds of millions of dollars of possible improved productivity in the immediate future,” CropLife chief executive officer, Matthew Cossey, said at the time.
The APVMA has released its performance statistics for the September quarter today, and said it had finalised 1058 applications in the September quarter of 2017, almost double the usual number of applications finalised in previous quarters for actives, products and permits.
The APVMA said 74pc of the work in progress for the 2017 September quarter is tracking within timeframe, up 5pc on the previous quarter where only 69pc of work in progress was tracking within timeframe.
Timeframe performance for pesticide product applications increased by 12pc on the previous June quarter with 36 per cent of application now completed on time.
APVMA commissions independent review
“We’ve experienced a particularly productive quarter and it’s promising to see applications moving through assessment and products making their way to market,” APVMA chief executive officer, Dr Chris Parker said.
“Timeframe performance held steady on the previous quarter at 58 per cent, which means more than 500 applications were finalised on time.
“Our work in progress is also tracking well with 74 per cent of applications currently in assessment still within timeframe.
“These results are a step in the right direction and it’s important that we continue to build more resilience and predictability into our operations.
“The chemical industry relies on us to make efficient and effective decisions which is why I have commissioned an independent review to report to me and identify the underlying causes of delays in our assessment and registration process.”
Findings from the review will be delivered in December.
Source: APVMA. The APVMA Performance Statistics for the September quarter of 2017 are available from the APVMA website at www.apvma.gov.au/node/27686