Senate Estimates September 2020 opening address – Ms Lisa Croft

This is the first time I have appeared before you as the new Chief Executive Officer of the APVMA, a role that I was privileged to accept earlier this month following the departure of Dr Chris Parker.

I want to acknowledge the significant contribution of my predecessor, Dr Parker, who led the organisation from June 2017.

In the APVMA, the quality and timeliness of our regulatory decision making has always been, and will continue to be our first priority.

Today I have published our most recent quarterly timeframe performance report.

In the September quarter, 94% of overall applications were approved within timeframe.

Pleasingly, this included 90% of all major pesticide and veterinary medicine applications being approved on time.

Over the year ahead, the APVMA will continue to focus on the quality and timeliness of our regulatory decisions.

We will also focus on strengthening our engagement with our diverse range of external stakeholders – to assist us to further improve our regulatory operations.

We will continue to develop and train our workforce, and embed further IT enhancements.

We will also support broader regulatory reform efforts across government and continue to contribute to the First Principles Review of the agvet chemical regulatory framework.

These focus areas all go to supporting our vision of being a global leader in agricultural and veterinary chemical regulation for the benefit of Australians.

One area which particularly highlights this benefit to Australians is that of world-first registrations.

In 2019–20, we completed 4 world-first registrations for agvet chemical products, and we have completed another one already this financial year.

These world-first registrations mean Australian farmers and consumers have access to products ahead of any other market in the world and reinforces the efficiency and effectiveness of the Australian regulatory environment.

This year also marked the completion of our ‘Top 20’ project, to develop and improve guidance material for applicants.

We worked closely with stakeholders to identify the top 20 application types for which they required improved guidance, and we have developed a suite of tailored guidance pathways to make the registration process easier and more efficient for applicants.

The completion of this project is another example of the work being undertaken to support timely access to safe and effective agvet chemical products for the Australian community.

In addition to our registration activities, the APVMA continues to undertake important chemical review work, finalising 6 regulatory decisions since August 2019.

We also continue to conduct regular compliance and enforcement activities to ensure pesticides and veterinary medicines comply with legislation.

We maintain this oversight of the regulated sector through audits, monitoring, investigations, recalls and enforcement action in collaboration with international, federal and local agencies.

2020 has proved a challenging environment for everyone including our staff and stakeholders. I want to thank APVMA staff for their continued hard work particularly through the COVID pandemic.

Our improved performance results amidst this broader operating environment has been a testament to their dedication to achieving our vision of being a world-class regulator.

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