Annual Report 2016–17—Chapter 2: Organisation overview

Corporate profile and purpose

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is the independent statutory authority responsible for the assessment, registration and regulation of agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemicals in Australia.

Agvet chemical products must be evaluated and registered by the APVMA before they can be legally sold, supplied or used in Australia.

More than 11 480 pesticide and veterinary medicine products are currently registered in Australia, including products for treating crop and garden diseases and pests, and medicines for treating agricultural and companion animals.

The APVMA takes a systematic, scientific, evidence-based approach to decision making and operations. We evaluate the safety and performance of chemicals intended for sale in Australia to protect the health and safety of people, animals, crops and the environment. Registered products must also not jeopardise Australia’s trade with other countries.

Our work supports primary industries—agriculture, forestry, horticulture and aquaculture —by allowing the supply of safe and effective animal health and crop protection products. Our work supports consumers by ensuring that household and garden pesticides and pet products are safe to use.

Our role extends beyond registration of agricultural chemicals and veterinary medicines to encompass a range of activities aimed at protecting Australians, and ensuring that products are safe. We license and audit veterinary manufacturers to ensure that they adhere to APVMA-prescribed manufacturing standards. We manage the APVMA Adverse Experience Reporting Program to ensure early detection of unforeseen problems with registered chemicals. We monitor the market for compliance, and review and take regulatory action on registered pesticides and veterinary medicines when concerns are raised.

The APVMA is a portfolio agency of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP.

Enabling legislation

The APVMA is established under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992 (Administration Act). The Administration Act sets out the APVMA’s role to administer the National Registration Scheme for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals, and the scheme’s legislation, in partnership with state and territory governments.

Functions and powers are conferred on the APVMA by the Administration Act, the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code (Agvet Code) scheduled to the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994, the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Regulations 1995 (Agvet Code Regulations) and the Agvet Codes and Agvet Regulations of each state or participating territory.

The APVMA is a corporate Commonwealth entity under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). A corporate Commonwealth entity is a corporate body that is legally separate from the Commonwealth.

Functions and powers

The APVMA operates under an Intergovernmental agreement between the Commonwealth Government and all states and territories. Under this agreement, the APVMA is responsible for regulating agvet chemicals up to and including the point of sale. The states and territories are responsible for regulating agvet chemicals after they are sold, a process known as ‘control of use’. The APVMA does not have responsibility for monitoring how chemicals are used.

The key functions of the APVMA, set out in s. 7 of the Administration Act, are to:

  • assess the suitability for sale in Australia of active constituents for proposed or existing chemical products, registered chemical products and labels for containers for chemical products
  • ensure that approvals and registrations for active constituents for chemical products, chemical products and labels for containers for chemical products comply with the Agvet Code and the Agvet Code Regulations
  • provide information to the Australian Government and its agencies, and the states and territories, about approved active constituents for proposed or existing chemical products, registered chemical products and approved labels for such products, and cooperate with the Australian Government and its agencies on matters relating to the management and control of chemical products
  • collect and publish relevant information and statistics on approvals and registrations granted, and permits and licences issued under the Agvet Code
  • with the Australian Government and its agencies, and the states and participating territories, facilitate a consistent approach to the assessment and control of agvet chemicals
  • exchange information relating to chemical products and their use, with overseas and international bodies that have similar functions to those of the APVMA
  • report to or advise the minister on matters relating to the performance of the APVMA’s functions.

Under s. 10 of the Administration Act, the Australian Government minister responsible for administering agvet medicine legislation may direct the APVMA (in writing) concerning its functions or powers under Australian, state or territory laws. The APVMA must comply with any such direction. No such direction was given in 2016–17.

Executive management and structure

The APVMA management structure (Figure 1) supports effective operation, communication and strategic understanding at all levels of the organisation.

Chief Executive Officer Office of the Chief Executive Officer
  Audit Committee
Scientific Assessment 
and Chemical Review
Chemical Review
  Chemistry and Manufacture
  Residues and Trade
  Health Assessment
  Environmental Assessment
  Efficacy Assessment Coordinator
  Scientific Standards and Data Guidelines
Registration Management
and Evaluation
Case Management and Administration
  Veterinary Medicines
  Pesticides
  Minor Use
  Biologicals
  Quality Oversight and Reporting
Corporate Services Finance
  Human Resources and Development
  Procurement and Partnership Management
  Public Affairs and Communication
  Relocation Operations
  Information and Communication Technology
Legal and Compliance Legal
  Compliance and Monitoring
  Manufacturing Quality and Licensing
Office of the Chief Scientist Principal Scientist

Figure 1: APVMA management structure as at 30 June 2017

The APVMA Executive Leadership Team is responsible for business performance and managing agency compliance with legislative requirements. It oversees the development of key corporate plans and strategies, monitors and reviews organisational performance and risk, and ensures that we meet our regulatory obligations. The executive team and APVMA staff use their collective skills and experience to develop and consider strategic initiatives and operational issues.

Dr chris-parker

 

Dr Chris Parker

Interim Chief Executive Officer

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is responsible for APVMA governance and management, including the exercise of the APVMA’s powers and functions. The CEO consults with key stakeholders to set the organisation’s vision, objectives and strategies to meet its legislative responsibilities. The CEO approves the APVMA’s corporate and operational plans and budgets, monitors financial and operational performance, and oversees program performance. The CEO leads the agency’s engagement efforts, particularly its engagement with key international agencies. In May 2017, Kareena Arthy resigned as APVMA CEO and Dr Chris Parker was appointed in June 2017 as interim CEO

Stefanie Janiec

 

Ms Stefanie Janiec

Chief Operating Officer

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) manages finance and administration, human resources, public affairs and communication, information management and technology, procurement and partnership management, business systems and organisational performance analysis. Key responsibilities include providing timely and accurate financial data and preparing financial plans, budgets and strategies that support the APVMA’s ability to deliver quality services with the funds available. The COO oversees information technology (IT) operations, security, information services and application development, people services including recruitment and retention of staff, work health and safety (WHS), staff wellbeing, learning and development and workplace relations, risk management, records management, physical and personnel security, and e-commerce

The COO oversees all corporate and relocation-related services to ensure the relocation happens with as little disruption as possible. Two new executive directors were established to support the COO with management of the relocation.

Mitchell Levy

Mr Mitchell Levy

Executive Director, Digital Strategy

The Executive Director (ED), Digital Strategy is responsible for ensuring that the APVMA Digital strategy is designed and delivered to underpin the business model in Armidale, including overseeing the linkages to established business systems and the transition from the existing system to the new platforms. The ED Digital Strategy heads two teams: business systems—focusing on sustaining the business in Canberra; and Armidale systems—focusing on the new digital strategy for the transition and relocation of the APVMA from Canberra to Armidale.

 

Paul Kruspe

Mr Paul Kruspe

Executive Director, Relocation Operations

The ED Relocation Operations is responsible for the overall planning, scheduling and delivery of the logistics of the relocation, as well as ensuring appropriate risk management, procurement, governance and record keeping arrangements are in place. The ED Relocation Operations heads four teams: planning, scheduling and coordination; procurement, contracts and record management; governance, risk and reporting; and staff liaison.

Jason Lutze

Dr Jason Lutze

Acting Executive Director, Scientific Assessment and Chemical Review

The ED Scientific Assessment and Chemical Review manages the expert assessment areas of the APVMA and the Chemical Review Program. This includes the chemistry and manufacture, health assessment and residues teams and the assessment oordinators for environment and efficacy. Responsibilities also include determining whether registered chemicals continue to meet contemporary standards, and continuously improving data guidelines and the quality of the assessments contributing to registration and review processes.

Mr Alan Norden

Executive Director, Registration Management and Evaluation

The ED Registration Management and Evaluation manages the overall registration process for agvet chemicals and veterinary medicines. Responsibilities include managing pre-application assistance (PAA), preliminary assessment of applications and the evaluation process. Responsibilities also include granting permits for minor uses, emergencies and research purposes and issuing export certificates and import consents.

Geetha Nair

 

Ms Geetha Nair

Acting Executive Director, Legal and Compliance, and General Counsel

The ED Legal and Compliance, and General Counsel provides and oversees the provision of legal advice, compliance and licensing activities and support to the CEO and staff on all aspects of the APVMA’s regulatory, administrative and corporate functions. Responsibilities include provision of high-level and strategic legal advice, particularly on significant issues that may have agency-wide implications, and delivering the APVMA’s compliance and licensing operations. Ms Geetha Nair has come to APVMA on secondment from the Australian Government Solicitor.

Dr Phil Reeves

Dr Phil Reeves

Chief Scientist

The Chief Scientist ensures that the APVMA’s regulatory science frameworks and standards meet appropriate national and international standards. Through engagement with national and international scientific and regulatory networks, the Chief Scientist identifies issues and trends that may affect the integrity of these frameworks and standards, and develops appropriate projects and initiatives to improve the APVMA’s scientific capability. Responsibilities also include providing the CEO and senior staff with independent, expert advice on regulatory decisions and scientific aspects of the APVMA’s regulatory framework, and managing the APVMA’s Office of the Chief Scientist.

Funding

The APVMA is a cost-recovered agency. Registrants pay application fees to register new products and active constituents, amend a current registration or apply for a permit. An annual fee is payable to renew the registration of a product. Product owners also pay an annual levy based on the sales of their registered products.

Levies are imposed under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemical Products Levy Imposition (General) Act 1994the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemical Products Levy Imposition (Excise) Act 1994 and the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemical Products Levy Imposition (Customs) Act 1994. Levies are collected under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemical Products (Collection of Levy) Act 1994, and the levy rates are prescribed in the Regulations to the Act.

The APVMA’s industry income for 2016–17 was $30.119 million, an increase of $0.604 million (2 per cent) from 2015–16. Other available income was an interest equivalency of $0.588 million, and $0.099 million relating to Food Standards Australia New Zealand, giving a total of $30.806 million. This income funded APVMA’s business-as-usual activities and excludes appropriation funding relating to the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper reform initiatives and APVMA’s relocation activities to Armidale, NSW.

The APVMA’s industry-related expenses for 2016–17 were $34.097 million, excluding expenses related to the White Paper reforms and relocation appropriation.

The APVMA’s total income for 2016–17 was $35.055 million, an increase of $4.616 million (13 per cent) compared with 2015–16. The APVMA’s total expenses for 2016–17 were $36.216 million, an increase of $2.361 million (6 per cent) compared with 2015–16. This has resulted in a deficit for 2016–17 of $1.161 million.

The net cost of APVMA services for 2016–17 was $35.824 million.

The inclusion of White Paper reform and Armidale relocation carry over funding has resulted in an equity balance of $6.798 million, which is 3 per cent below the APVMA’s preferred equity position of $7.000 million.

Significant noncompliance issues with finance law

No issues were reported to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources under paragraph 19(1)(e) of the PGPA Act that related to noncompliance with the finance law in relation to the entity

Staff profile

Table 1 provides details of Australian Public Service (APS) employees employed at the APVMA under the Public Service Act 1999 in 2016–17.

We had 173 full-time and part-time ongoing staff at 30 June 2017. There were also 44 non-ongoing or casual staff, bringing the total number of staff to 217 (133 female, 84 male). No staff identify as being Indigenous. Staff are located in Canberra, other than one staff member who is in Perth.

In 2016–17, the separation rate for ongoing staff was 23.7 per cent, which is an increase from the 18.7 per cent separation rate in the previous year.

Table 1: APVMA staffing, at 30 June 2017

Classification Full-time 
(ongoing)
Part-time 
(ongoing)
Non-ongoing 
and casual
Total
CEO 0 0 1 1
Senior Executive Officer 3 0 2 5
Chief/Principal Scientist 1 0 1 2
EL2 20 2 5 27
EL1 47 7 12 66
APS 6 47 4 9 60
APS 5 21 1 3 25
APS 4 12 0 6 18
APS 3 7 1 5 13
APS 2 0 0 0 0
Trainee 0 0 0 0
Total 158 15 44 217

APS = Australian Public Service; CEO = Chief Executive Officer; EL = executive level

Ministerial directions and government policy orders

A GPO was made under s. 22 of the PGPA Act.

The GPO specified that corporate Commonwealth entities with agricultural policy or regulatory responsibilities are to be located in a regional community that is near a main campus of a regional university recognised for research and teaching in the field of agricultural science. The GPO applies to the APVMA.

Significant activities and changes

The issuing of the GPO to relocate the APVMA has provided the agency with the opportunity to think strategically about how we improve and modernise our business as a world-class regulator operating from regional Australia.

In 2016–17, the APVMA focused on the planning phase of the relocation. The agency opened an interim office in Armidale, and plans are underway for the permanent building to be available by mid-2019. Extensive work is being undertaken to design an appropriate business model for the future APVMA as well as the implementation of a digital strategy to increase efficiency and accommodate remote workers.

The APVMA has established an APVMA Relocation Advisory Committee with staff and representatives from peak bodies as members. Through this committee, our stakeholders will be able to advise the CEO on the relocation, business model and digital strategy. We are committed to continued collaboration with industry as we build and establish our operations in Armidale.

“We are committed to continued 
collaboration with industry
as we build and establish
our operations in Armidale.”

 

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