Reforms to regulation of agricultural chemicals and veterinary medicines

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Australian Government is implementing reforms to the regulation of agricultural chemicals and veterinary medicines (agvet chemicals) for the benefit of the community, manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, retailers and users of agvet chemicals. The government is committed to easing the burden imposed on the Australian economy and agricultural sector by reducing red and green tape on business by at least $1 billion per year.

Reforms to agvet chemical regulation aim to reduce red tape for farmers and other businesses and encourage the development of new chemistry. The reforms are expected to bring a range of benefits for farmers and other users, the environment and the community, while retaining protections for the health and safety of humans, animals and the environment.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is the Australian Government regulator responsible for registration, quality assurance and compliance of agvet chemicals up to and including the point of retail sale.

The APVMA is responsible for implementation of changes to agvet chemicals legislation. Further information about the APVMA can be found on their website.

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Future reform

The department is now engaging stakeholders on the development of a reform package to deliver improvements to the efficiency and effectiveness of our agvet chemical regulatory system and improve access to chemicals.

We are eager to develop these improvements in collaboration with industry, communities, chemical users and state and territory governments and have so far met with stakeholders in four cities. Our meetings have focussed on the brief paper we have prepared to encourage an ongoing reform conversation.

We have been encouraged in our discussions thus far. Participating stakeholders have shown a willingness to identify issues, explore ideas and to continue contributing to reform development.

There has been general agreement to our proposed outcomes for reform. Stakeholders have told us we should pursue ways to deliver increased access to chemicals, increase efficiency in the registration process and improve the regulatory system overall. Discussions continue on the best way to achieve these outcomes.

These discussions are taking place in a complex and uncertain reform environment. The difficulties experienced after implementing recent changes to the agvet regulatory system have made some stakeholders nervous about the pursuit of further reform at this time. We are aware of these concerns and will work with industry and the APVMA to continue to support the continuing transition where we can.

We don’t think the feedback we have received means we should not continue to pursue improved access to chemicals for farmers and the government’s commitment to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the regulatory system. We will continue to explore options with stakeholders and pursue those ideas that will deliver improvements. We hope to develop and implement future reforms in a way that mitigates transitional challenge as much as possible. Stakeholder input on the details of reform development will be important to achieving this outcome.

The department has received a range of views on the individual ideas presented with the discussion paper. Some have been supported more than others. We have not yet reached a point where we are ready to pursue implementation of any idea, nor have we stopped considering any of the ideas based on what we have heard. Discussion to date has been valuable to progress thinking, flesh out detail, identify issues and develop the ideas.

Updates summarising what stakeholders have said on each idea, how our thinking has progressed and more detail for stakeholders to consider will be made available on this page soon.

As we have explained in meetings and outlined in our discussion paper, we are committed to an ongoing discussion on the development of these reforms. We need to make sure that stakeholders can follow progress and remain engaged in discussions. Any advice on how best to continue to engage with you and other interested parties would be welcome.   

Engagement will continue into the second half of 2015. To participate in the process please send your views to agvet reform team. Or contact the team though the channels outlined in the discussion paper.

As part of our wider engagement strategy we will continue to meet with stakeholders, in person or via teleconference as appropriate. All responses will be handled and protected in accordance with the department’s privacy policy, and may be published here. Full details of how information will be handled is available under the Further Information tab.

Recent reforms

Amending regulation of animal feeds as veterinary chemical product.

On 5 March 2015 certain types of animal feed for both stock and companion animals were excluded from the need for Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority regulatory assessment. This change better aligns the registration requirements for stock and pet food with the well understood risks associated with their ingredients and intended use patterns.

Reforms introduced in the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment Act 2013 commenced on 1 July 2014.

These reforms:

  • improve the efficiency and effectiveness of assessment processes for applications and for reconsiderations
  • enhance the consistency and transparency of assessments and reconsiderations
  • improve the ability of the regulator to enforce compliance with its regulatory
  • encourage industry to provide data to support ongoing registration of agvet chemicals and permit applications.

The Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation (Removing Re-approval and Re-registration) Amendment Act 2014 gives effect to the government’s commitment to remove the requirement for agvet chemicals to be periodically re-approved and re-registered. It also:

  • provides for less frequent registration renewal
  • improves the APVMA’s ability to secure information about the safety of chemicals supplied in the market to improve health and safety and compliance
  • streamlines access to information about approvals and registration in the APVMA’s files
  • addresses some minor implementation issues identified in existing reform legislation.

Further information about the APVMA’s implementation of these reforms can be found on their website.

Further information

Email: Agvet Reform

Privacy Statement:

All personal information handled by the department is protected in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988. Any personal information contained in or related to your submission will be collected by the department and stored securely. Your name may be used to attribute authorship of your submission unless you indicate you wish to remain anonymous, in which case your name will not be published or otherwise disclosed. Your email address may be used to enable the department to contact you regarding your submission if it is incomplete or inaccessible. If you do not have an email address or would like to make an offline submission, please contact Marc Kelly, Director of Agvet Chemicals Regulation Reform on (02) 6272 5485.

Your personal information will not be used or disclosed for any other purpose unless authorised or required by law.

When sending in your submission, it is a requirement that you provide a first name, surname and email address. Although you have the option to remain anonymous you will still be required to submit these details in case the department needs to contact you. If you indicate that you wish to remain anonymous your name will not be published with your submission online.

If you do not have an email address, or feel you have a justifiable reason of not submitting your submission online, please contact Marc Kelly, Director of Agvet Chemicals Regulation Reform on (02) 6272 5485 and they will be able to provide you with alternate ways of sending in your submission.


All content contained in submissions may be published on the department’s website or otherwise made public, unless you specifically state you want all or part of your submission to be treated as confidential information.  Automatically generated confidentiality statements are not accepted by the department, and a claim for confidentiality must be justified, and any such material provided as a separate attachment, marked ‘Confidential’.   Material marked ‘Confidential’ will not be published on the department’s website.
Notwithstanding the above, no breach of confidence will occur if the department shares part or all of your submission with a third party referred to under the heading ‘Privacy’ above in seeking external advice or information in response to a submission.

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Responsibility for compliance with Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in submissions rests with the submission author(s), not with the department. In lodging your submission, you warrant that you have not knowingly infringed any third party IPR. By lodging a submission, you grant to the Commonwealth of Australia a permanent, irrevocable, royalty-free, world-wide, non-exclusive licence, (that is, a legal permission, including a right of sub-licence) to use, copy, reproduce, adapt, communicate and exploit all or any of the material contained in your submission.

For more information, please visit the department’s Privacy policy.

Our Privacy Policy also contains information about how you can seek access or correction to your personal information. It also contains details about how you can complain about a breach of the Privacy Act by us, and how we will deal with such a complaint.

​Submissions received

Reforms to animal feed

On 7 October 2014 the Department of Agriculture invited stakeholders to provide submissions commenting on the draft regulatory impact statement. This document detailed the proposed changes to the regulation of animal feeds.

Stakeholders were asked to comment by 7 November 2014. A total of 14 submissions were received.

The submissions may not meet Australian Government accessibility requirements as they have not been prepared by the department.

All information in submissions (including names and contact details) has been published electronically unless the author specifically requested otherwise. Responsibility for copyright over submissions resides with the author/s, not the department.

Inaccessible third-party content

The submissions were not prepared by the department and may not meet Australian Government accessibility guidelines. If you require an accessible version of the publication, please contact its author.​

Last reviewed:
25 Jun 2015