Our compliance and enforcement principles

In exercising our regulatory discretion, we choose an approach that we consider will produce sustained compliance, redress for harms and a good and lasting benefit for people, animals, the environment and trade on a case-by-case approach. We are guided by five main principles in implementing our compliance and enforcement functions.

Take focussed and effective action informed by risk

The APVMA applies standardised risk assessment and prioritisation to all noncompliance incidents or emerging issues. This focuses on matters potentially involving the greatest risk of harm. The APVMA cannot pursue every report we receive, but from time to time, we develop specific strategies to address emerging or low-risk matters. For example, we can publicise key compliance and enforcement outcomes or issues to deter noncompliance. While we use a graduated range of compliance and enforcement responses, we react strongly to wilful and culpable behaviour.

Apply proportional and consistent sanctions based on evidence

The APVMA ensures a consistent approach to compliance and enforcement through risk assessment, prioritising activities, adopting relevant investigative standards, sound governance and oversight of legislative powers, and applying regulatory guidelines. We can tailor our compliance and enforcement responses to particular circumstances according to their seriousness, using graduated compliance tools. The agvet legislation gives us a range of powers to deal with noncompliance, from formal warnings to criminal prosecution. We can also respond with administrative measures or encourage voluntary compliance by educating and raising awareness. We apply sanctions for noncompliance based on available evidence of each case.

Support compliance and deter noncompliance

We can take a range of regulatory actions to control product risk. We apply these consistently where risk is identified and supported by evidence. We do not take regulatory actions punitively. We consider the level of cooperation and the attitude of noncompliant entities in determining the most appropriate response. We treat self-reporting positively but may nonetheless apply strong measures depending on whole circumstances and the need for consistency and fairness.

Conduct our activities professionally and to the highest standard

APVMA compliance and enforcement staff conduct themselves and their activities in accordance with professional standards, including the Australian Government Investigations Standards. Our compliance and enforcement activities are undertaken transparently, with appropriate governance and oversight. We aim for the timely resolution of noncompliance, while recognising that compliance and enforcement actions in the marketplace may affect third parties, including users of agvet chemical products. Subject to commercial confidentiality, privacy and public interest considerations, we publicise our compliance and enforcement activities and their outcomes. Good governance ensures that matters are responded to and resolved in a timely way to minimise uncertainty. In legal proceedings, we act as a ‘model litigant’.

Work with stakeholders to proactively identify and address emerging risks

The APVMA has an embedded intelligence capability to support its compliance and enforcement functions. We monitor marketplaces and liaise with Australian and international co-regulators and enforcement and scientific agencies. We encourage and facilitate members of the public to report noncompliance and engage with stakeholders to stay informed about emerging areas of concern.

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