© Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority 2019
ISSN: 2200-8322 (electronic)
ISBN: 978-1-922188-07-6 (electronic)
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The material in or linking from this report may contain the views or recommendations of third parties. Third party material does not necessarily reflect the views of the APVMA, or indicate a commitment to a particular course of action. There may be links in this document that will transfer you to external websites. The APVMA does not have responsibility for these websites, nor does linking to or from this document constitute any form of endorsement. The APVMA is not responsible for any errors, omissions or matters of interpretation in any third-party information contained within this document.
Comments and enquiries
Assistant Director, Communications
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
PO Box 6182
Kingston ACT 2604 Australia
Telephone: +61 2 6770 2300
I am pleased to present the 2019–20 Corporate Plan, which continues our commitment to be a modern, independent, and capable regulator, positioned to evaluate, register and review agricultural chemical and veterinary medicine (agvet) products.
The APVMA has been on a path of reform as we have transitioned the majority of our regulatory operations from Canberra to Armidale, NSW. This relocation has provided opportunities to reset the organisation and embed foundational improvements. Now our transformational journey has ended and our people and workspaces are in place, we have the opportunity to improve internal systems and processes and to streamline our regulatory services through an Enabling Technology Program.
We continue to be a world-class leader in agricultural chemical and veterinary medicine product registration and review, ensuring our decision making is high quality, timely and science based. The investment we have made to support our staff means they have the tools, skills and knowledge to perform at a high level, which is reflected in consistently improved timeframe performance results over the past 18 months.
Our strategic priorities in this plan build certainty for the organisation and our clients and stakeholders. To cement our status as an independent, world-class agvet chemical regulator, we will maintain a robust program of post-registration compliance and reviews. We will aim to reach out to other trusted regulators and work with them on global reviews and international standards.
At the same time, we will maintain our regulatory science capability by enhancing our quality frameworks and aiming to further improve our timeframe performance. We will also improve the delivery of our regulatory services by listening to our clients and stakeholders, refining our funding model through the cost recovery implementation process, and increasing our stakeholder engagement activities. Through these strategies, we strengthen our reputation for the quality decisions we make to protect our community, animals, and the environment.
By implementing this plan, we will continue to modernise our regulatory services, ensuring the APVMA continues to be a trusted and respected regulator both in Australia and internationally.
Dr Chris Parker
Chief Executive Officer
This plan sets out the strategic priorities for the APVMA for the period 2019–20 to 2021–23.
A Corporate Plan is required under section 35 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and section 50 of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992. Progress toward meeting the goals of the Corporate Plan will be reported each year in the Annual Report.
The Corporate Plan will be reviewed annually and adjusted as necessary.
The APVMA is the independent statutory authority responsible for assessing and registering pesticides and veterinary medicines proposed for supply and use in Australia.
Our functions are set out in Part 2, Section 7 of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992.
We operate under an Intergovernmental Agreement between the Commonwealth Government and all states and territories. Under this agreement, we manage the regulatory services for the supply of safe and effective agricultural and veterinary chemicals in Australia.
Our regulatory responsibility extends from registration and manufacturing through to the point of sale. Compliance and monitoring powers in the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994 provide a mechanism for the APVMA to undertake post market surveillance and testing to ensure the continued safety and effectiveness of a registered product.
State and territory governments are responsible for regulating and monitoring how chemicals are used.
We provide a regulatory service for the supply of safe and effective agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemicals in Australia.
To be a world leader in agvet chemical regulation, that uses the best science and attracts strong investment to register safe products that advance Australia’s agricultural productivity and animal health.
We place our clients at the centre of our business, invest in our people and embrace technology to define how we regulate—ensuring our decisions are risk-based and transparent.
As a public service agency we are impartial, committed to service, accountable, respectful and ethical. To ensure we maintain a regulatory service delivered in line with legislative requirements and matching client expectations of a modern regulator, we adopt and promote the following cultural traits which are critical to our success:
- display resilience
- pursue excellence
- be collaborative
- engage with risk.
For over 20 years, the APVMA has been operating within a changing technological and consumer landscape. It has been our professional workforce that has adapted to this changing landscape by applying regulatory-best scientific practice.
Australia’s expertise in regulatory science is recognised around the world. The APVMA’s challenge is to ensure we continue to provide world-leading regulatory outcomes while continuing to improve our operational performance. This performance is being enabled by the continued adoption of modern technology and delivered by our professional workforce.
The APVMA also operates with increasing community and industry expectations for timeliness and efficiency, rapidly evolving science, changing technology and business practices, globalisation of pesticide supply chains and changing pest management needs. As a result, the APVMA must always strive to identify new and improved ways to do its work, be it our core science-based regulatory decisions, our engagement and administrative activities.
One of the major factors in our operating environment is the drought affecting much of Australia. This has been a dominant influence on farms over the 2018–19 financial year. At the national level, farm profitability is expected to be lower than the previous two years due to the effects of drought on production and input costs. However, this has been somewhat cushioned by the favourable farmgate prices received for some commodities. This is due to the lower Australian dollar, which is boosting export returns (ABARES, 2019).
Our role as a regulator of agvet chemicals is clearly defined, and we operate in accordance with the Agriculture and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992 and the Agriculture and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994 to ensure agvet chemicals in Australia are safe now and in the future. By doing so, we are committed to ensuring that industry and the Australian population are supplied with safe products.
Effective regulation of all agricultural and veterinary chemical products presents the APVMA with many challenges. Our corporate goals provide a focus for allocating our resources and monitoring our performance to support positive outcomes and future improvement.
The Australian community derives many benefits from the use of agvet chemicals. The most obvious is increased agricultural productivity. Others include the wellbeing of companion animals and the protection from pests and diseases that affect human health. In enjoying those benefits, the community has certain expectations of the APVMA as the national agvet chemical regulator. Even if some do not know its name, there is an expectation that the APVMA will act as an active gatekeeper ensuring that only those products that are safe are approved and monitoring the market to ensure compliance with regulatory standards.
Today there are over 24 million pets in Australia and owners are spending more than ever on premium products for their animals (Animal Medicines Australia, 2016). Owner attitudes have shifted in favour of preventative healthcare and away from the more traditional treatments of disease, illness and injury. The market for animal health products has grown by 14 per cent in the last three years, and the expansion of so-called ‘natural’ veterinary medicines demands continued monitoring to ensure compliance with Australia’s regulatory standards and to safeguard animal health through the management of good manufacturing practice.
Consumer attitudes towards food safety have also altered in recent years. The influences of social and mass media have created more informed and discerning consumers, with greater awareness of food safety issues, including chemical residues. The growing organic food sector and social movements promoting farm-to-table consumption are influencing agricultural practices and changing the types of chemicals and veterinary medicines being brought to market to align with the ‘clean green’ image promoted through Australian agriculture.
There are many players in the regulation of agvet chemicals in Australia, all with different roles. Even though the APVMA is responsible for one part of the national regulatory system, the community often attributes all agvet chemical issues to the APVMA. As part of its role, it is important that the APVMA clearly communicates its area of responsibility to ensure the integrity of the regulatory system is maintained.
Over the last two years the APVMA has undergone a program of organisational change and streamlined corporate strategies.
In 2019–20, the Government Policy Order to relocate operations from Canberra to Armidale has been finalised and we are well underway in embedding solid foundations for the optimisation of our business-as-usual processes to ensure we operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.
- Horizon 1: establish and undertake key activities to support effective transformation. For the APVMA, this horizon encompassed two financial years (2017–18 to 2018–19) to accommodate the volume and complexity of the changes required to existing business operations
- Horizon 2: embed key activities into day-to-day business operations. For the APVMA, this horizon encompasses one year (2019–20)
- Horizon 3: ensure day-to-day operations are optimised and that services are undertaken as efficiently and effectively as possible. For the APVMA, this horizon encompasses one year (2020–21).
Having transitioned from an extensive program of organisational change, the APVMA has streamlined its corporate strategies with a focus on process and improvement. Our corporate strategies provide a targeted framework to align activities that will achieve our goals of improving our regulatory performance, enhancing our business and successfully maintaining operations.
Continue to be a world-class agvet chemical regulator
As we continue to meet the challenges of ever-changing industry, newly available science and changing environmental factors, we must continue to transform to meet these by ensuring evidence-based regulatory decisions protect the health and safety of human beings, animals and the environment.
Over the next five years the APVMA will:
- ensure risk assessment procedures align with international standards
- make decisions that are based on the most current scientific evidence
- maintain robust and independent compliance and monitoring activities in line with international best practices
- participate in and lead global reviews
- enhance collaboration with international and domestic partners
- proactively engage with internal and external stakeholders.
Deliver high-quality decision making that is timely, science-based and proportionate
The APVMA strives to maintain the quality of its decision making, while focusing on timeliness and applying our scientific expertise to align the effort of regulatory intervention with the risks being managed. Enabling this is a quality and risk based framework which is implemented by well trained, and highly skilled people.
Over the next five years the APVMA will:
- improve timeliness of regulatory decisions
- continue to support and develop our people to enhance a high performing workplace and culture
- enhance quality management frameworks
- focus on improving data governance and work flow management.
Improve regulatory delivery and feedback systems
To ensure our success at the APVMA we are focused on enabling our operations to deliver effective regulatory evaluation and registration of agricultural and veterinary chemical products for the protection of the health and safety of human beings, animals and the environment.
Over the next five years the APVMA will:
- embed and enhance the business operating model
- implement outcomes from the Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS)
- continue to implement our Information Communication Technology applications and delivery of Enabling Technology Program in line with our digital strategy
- increase industry and community awareness of regulatory requirements.
Our corporate strategies are aligned with the APVMA’s 2019–20 portfolio budget statement. This states that the APVMA will work to ensure the protection of the health and safety of humans, animals and the environment and our commitment to responsible financial management of APVMA operations including maintenance of equity reserve targets.
We measure the quality of our regulatory decision making by considering our consistency with our legislative framework, alignment with international best practice, and post market safety and compliance. Decisions are made following a robust process that aligns with legislative timeframes and may involve review by our science quality committee. Success in this area is measured through:
- maintaining a low number of regulatory decisions which are overturned by external bodies such as the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
- adjustments to registration requirements and the cancellation of registration for safety reasons flowing from the adverse experience reporting and chemical review programs
- reporting of operational performance against legislative timeframes.
Operational measures are outlined in the APVMA’s 2019–20 Operational Plan.
Corporate governance provides the mechanisms to ensure that we set and pursue our objectives efficiently, effectively and ethically. Our framework is based on an executive committee structure and a set of assurance arrangements to provide:
- clear leadership, direction and oversight
- sound planning
- robust performance management
- strong financial management
- appropriate systems and controls
- integrated risk management
- effective workforce planning
- business improvement
- accountability, transparency and integrity.
The Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and its committees provide leadership and management of the APVMA’s overall performance. The committee framework enables us to monitor and improve our performance and ensures that we comply with relevant legislation. The ELT has the following sub committees:
- Audit Committee
- Senior Management Leadership Team
- Staff Consultative Committee
- Work Health and Safety Committee
- Science Quality Committee
- Change Management Committee.
Animal Medicines Australia, Pet Ownership in Australia 2016, available at animalmedicinesaustralia.org.au
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, 21 March 2017, Gazette, available at apvma.gov.au/sites/default/files/21032017.pdf
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources ABARES, 2019 Agricultural commodities March Quarter, available at agriculture.gov.au/abares/research-topics/agricultural-commodities/mar-2019/agriculture-overview
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