Legislative framework

1. Cooperative scheme

The Agvet Code is part of a cooperative statutory scheme in place for the evaluation, registration and control of agricultural and veterinary chemical products. 

The Agvet Code makes provision for the evaluation, registration and control of agricultural and veterinary chemical products and for related matters. Mirror legislation is found in the states and territories of Australia, consistent with the arrangements set out in the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Act 1994.

2. Legislation administered by the APVMA

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992

This Act establishes the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) as an independent statutory authority of the Commonwealth responsible for the regulation and control of agricultural and veterinary chemicals in Australia up to the point of retail sale. This Act contains all the internal details of the establishment of and the functions and powers of the APVMA. It also contains provisions controlling the import and export of chemicals and enforcement and inspectors.

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Act 1994

This Act contains the constitutional and other legal provisions that enable the Agvet Code to have effect. It provides that the Agvet Code is to apply as a law of the participating territories. The participating territories means the Australian Capital Territory and any other territory declared by Regulations in force under section 25 of the Act to be a participating territory.

This Act sets up a scheme under which the Agvet Code of the participating territories is to operate in appropriate circumstances as if that code, together with the Agvet Code of each state, constituted a single national Agvet Code applying throughout Australia. Taken together they are referred to as the Agvet Codes. The Agvet Code of each state binds the Crown in right of the Commonwealth, of the Australian Capital Territory and of Norfolk Island.

While the Agvet Codes apply in the states and the Northern Territory as the law of those jurisdictions, the applied laws are partly federalised. That is, for most practical purposes they have the general characteristics of Commonwealth rather than state laws. In particular, this federalisation allows the Commonwealth’s Acts Interpretation Act 1901 to apply for the purposes of interpreting the Agvet Codes so there is a uniform interpretative regime. The Commonwealth’s administrative law framework also applies to decisions made under the Agvet Codes, allowing exclusive rights of review of APVMA decisions taken under the Agvet Codes as though the decisions were made under Commonwealth laws. The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is empowered to prosecute for any offences against the legislation even though such offences are offences against the laws of the states or territories concerned.

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994

This Act contains the Agvet Code as a schedule. The Agvet Code, among other things, contains the detailed provisions allowing the APVMA to evaluate, approve or register and review active constituents and agricultural and veterinary chemical products (and their associated labels), and to issue permits and license the manufacture of chemical products. It also contains provisions for controls to regulate the supply of chemical products, and provisions ensuring compliance with, and for the enforcement of, the Agvet Code.

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemical Products (Collection of Levy) Act 1994

This Act contains measures that allow for the assessment and collection of levies in regard to agricultural and veterinary products registered for use in Australia.

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Regulations 1995

These Regulations, among other things, prescribe the fees for export certificates and the form of search warrant to be used when there is a suspected offence in relation to the importation, manufacture or exportation of agricultural or veterinary chemicals.

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Regulations 1999

These Regulations prescribe functions in relation to the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Commonwealth that enable the director to bring prosecutions and proceedings for offences against the Agvet Codes or the Agvet Regulations.

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Regulations 1995

These Regulations prescribe and specify a number of matters relating to the operation of the Agvet Code.

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemical Products (Collection of Levy) Regulations 1995

These Regulations prescribe the state laws under which an agricultural or veterinary chemical product is registered under the Collection of Levy Act and specifies the rate of levy applicable.

3. Legislative instruments

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Ingredient Determination 2015

This determination lists authorised ingredients for excluded nutritional or digestive products (END products) for the purposes of subclause 5(3) of Schedule 3AA of the Agvet Code Regulations. END products do not require approval under the Agvet Code.

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code (Listed Chemical Product – Joint Health Products for Dogs and Horses) Standard 2014

This instrument establishes a standard for use by the APVMA in determining whether or not to approve certain joint health products for dogs and horses, which includes requirements relating to the labelling and handling of the products.

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code (Listed Chemical Product – Home Swimming Pool and Spa Products) Standard 2014

This instrument sets out the standard to be used by the APVMA in determining whether or not to approve chlorine chemical products used for destroying bacteria, viruses and protozoa in home swimming pools and spas.

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Manufacturing Principles) Determination 2014

This instrument sets out the principles to be observed in the manufacture of veterinary chemical products, unless the products are exempt from licensing under the Agvet Regulations.

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Instrument (MRL Standard) 2019

This instrument sets out Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for agricultural and veterinary chemicals in agricultural produce, particularly produce entering the food chain.  These MRLs are set at levels which are not likely to be exceeded if the agricultural or veterinary chemicals are used in accordance with their approved label instructions. At the time the MRLs are set the APVMA undertakes a dietary exposure evaluation to ensure the levels do not pose an undue hazard to human health. Section 7A of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992 requires the APVMA to publish, in an appropriate manner, in each calendar year approved standards for residues of chemical products in protected commodities.

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Regulations (Pre-application Assistance Fee) Instrument 2015

This instrument sets out the criteria for working out which unit-based fee applies in relation to particular kinds of pre-application assistance. It also provides examples of the application of the criteria in particular cases.

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code (Efficacy Criteria) Determination 2014

This instrument sets out the criteria that are applied when considering whether a chemical product meets the efficacy criteria (as required by section 14(1)(c) of the Agvet Code), which include criteria based on the type of product and the other circumstances in which a product will be taken to be effective

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code (Application Requirements) Instrument 2014

This instrument sets out the information that must be contained in, or accompany an, application under the Agvet Code. Such applications include: the approval of or variation of active constituents; registration of or variation of chemical products; approval of or variation of labels; a permit; a manufacturing licence; changing the holder of an approval or registration; nominating an agent; changing a nominated agent; and renewals of registration.

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code (Notifiable Variations) Instrument 2019

This instrument determines types of variations of relevant particulars for approvals and registrations that can be made by notice to the APVMA, rather than requiring an application.

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code (Prescribed Variations) Instrument 2019

This instrument sets out the kinds of variations of relevant particulars of approvals or registrations which are prescribed variations for the purposes of section 26B of the Agvet Code.

To protect your privacy, please do not include contact information in your feedback. If you would like a response, please contact us.