APVMA opening address—public hearing ANAO report on Pesticide and Veterinary Medicine Regulatory Reform—Dr. Chris Parker

1 March 2018

Thank you for the opportunity to address this committee and to inform you of the progress we have made towards the ANAO recommendations from our implementation of the 2014 agvet chemical legislative reforms.

In summary, the ANAO recommended improvements to our quality management framework, performance measurement, project governance and risk management. We have already progressed work in all four areas.

There is of course, more to be done to improve operations at the APVMA, but it would be remiss to ignore the growing organisational refinement and the commitment of APVMA staff to deliver better guidance to applicants, streamline processes and improve decision making.

We continue to build on the foundations of a quality management framework that will enhance assessment consistency and provide assurance that decisions align with agvet chemical legislation.

We outlined our strategy to ensure continuous improvement of scientific capability and integrate scientific quality in APVMA regulatory operations. Our planning for our quality management framework outlines the focus areas which we will be delivering on, to ensure science frameworks and practices continue to meet appropriate standards and that regulatory performance improves.

In response to the audit from the ANAO we acknowledge that the governance arrangements leading up to the legislative reforms could have been stronger.

The agency now has a major projects board and a team to oversee implementation of business improvements. And we have established a dedicated program board to oversee our relocation.

We reviewed our management of business risk, which resulted in a revised risk management framework and an updated risk profile that we revisit monthly.

Our new framework and strengthened risk culture means that risks associated with our relocation to Armidale are being prioritised and managed effectively.

And we have taken this further. In December last year, I engaged O’Connor Marsden to undertake assurance mapping for the agency.

This work has analysed the extent to which the assurance measures we have in place are addressing risks in our business. Our next step is to take these recommendations forward and imbed assurance processes that close any gaps in our risk management.

Last year we improved our reporting framework to better integrate performance measures in our corporate plan and set targets that will assist us to track improved performance over time.

We continue to monitor and report our assessment outputs publicly, and I am pleased to report improved operational performance for the September and December quarters of 2017, noting that we are on track to meet our corporate performance measure for 2017–18 year.

Given the historical volatility in APVMA performance, and in response to recommendation two of the ANAO report, I commissioned an independent review of operational performance in August last year.

We released the results from this review in January, along with our commitment to implement all recommendations.

Improvements were made at the APVMA in the years following 2014 and I know there is improvement still to deliver.

Thank you for this opportunity to speak before the committee and to reaffirm our commitment to work with industry and government to improve performance and regulatory efficiency of pesticides and veterinary medicines registration in Australia.

Thank you chair.

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