Media release​

Independent ANAO review finds APVMA lacking

22 June 2017

  • ANAO report on APVMA is highly critical of the organisation
  • ANAO finds 2014 reforms not well implemented 
  • Findings unrelated to relocation

A scathing report by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) highly critical of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) was tabled in Parliament today and reinforces the Coalition Government’s decision to restructure the agency; including a relocation in partnership with the University of New England at Armidale.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the ANAO’s independent assessment of the APVMA’s performance confirmed that, after years of poor performance, the regulator could no longer continue under its business as usual model.

“This audit finds significant weaknesses in how the APVMA has implemented the government’s 2014 agvet chemical legislative reforms and says the business practices, systems, risk management and governance arrangements employed by the agency are just not good enough,” Minister Joyce said.

“And to think this is the model that Labor and its Shadow Minister actually wants to keep. The report finds that the ongoing poor culture and governance arrangements have the potential to impact on future reforms and the success of the APVMA’s relocation to Armidale, not the other way around.

“The reforms we legislated in 2014 were developed as a result of thorough consultation with industry and were meant to reduce the cost burden on industry stakeholders and reduce the red tape. 

“This report finds more than two years since that legislation came into effect, measures to cut red tape, like introducing a risk-based regulatory framework, are yet to be implemented.

“I am really disappointed that the poor implementation of the reforms by the regulator has not delivered the more efficient access to safe effective chemicals that industry urgently need and that’s why this government needs to take significant action to reform the APVMA. 

“This is particularly important in the context of the relocation to Armidale. It is vital the APVMA implements a robust risk management framework and oversight arrangements to support business continuity during the establishment of the Centre for Excellence in Armidale.

“With new leadership and the APVMA’s relocation to Armidale, we now have a genuine opportunity to build an efficient and effective regulator of the future. 

“I look forward to working with the interim Chief Executive Officer, Dr Chris Parker, to deliver long overdue improvements to the APVMA’s performance and improve access to agricultural and veterinary chemicals for Australian farmers.”

Fast facts
  • The APVMA assesses and registers and all agvet chemicals proposed for use in Australia, and currently has around 13,000 products on its register.
  • The APVMA receives around 5000 applications each year, with approximately 70 per cent of applications seeking to vary an existing registration or approval, or produce a copy of an existing product.