Hot Topics

This section covers topics of discussion and interest in agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemical products regulation, including current trends and emerging technologies.

Roadmap for insect pollinator risk assessment in Australia

Scientists at the APVMA are actively involved in researching and developing best practice approaches to manage insect pollinator health in Australia. Our focus is on the effect of pesticides on insect pollinators.

The APVMA held a regulatory workshop with experts from industry and other scientific experts on ‘Pesticides and the Health of Insect Pollinators’ in July 2013 to determine a risk framework approach. Since then, we’ve worked closely with the Department of the Environment and Energy to develop a new framework for conducting risk assessments for honey bees and other insect pollinators.

The Roadmap for insect pollinator risk assessment in Australia was released in September 2017 and outlines a tiered approach to risk assessment for honey bees and other insect pollinators.

We use the roadmap to guide risk assessments for proposed uses of pesticide products which may impact on insect pollinators. This includes guidelines for the addition of warning and protection statements for certain types of products.

Antibiotic resistance

The APVMA plays a key role in reducing antibiotic resistance in humans, animals and the environment through our regulation of veterinary medicines. 

We commissioned a report Antibiotic resistance in animals on the emergence of antimicrobial resistance as a global public health, animal health and welfare concern. This report describes the APVMA's role in coordinating Australia's joint human and animal health response to reducing the spread of super bugs. 

The report will inform our best practice guidance and science-based approach to ensuring the ongoing responsible use of antibiotics in animals for the protection of people, animals and the environment. 

Nanotechnology regulation

Nanotechnology is the application of scientific knowledge to manipulate and control matter in the nanoscale. It makes use of ‘size and structure-dependent’ properties and phenomena, as distinct from those associated with individual atoms or molecules or with bulk materials. Nanoscale is the size range from approximately 1 nm to 100 nm.

It is anticipated that nanotechnology will likely be used in pesticides and veterinary medicines in the future. Due to the novelty of the technology it is necessary that the APVMA and other regulators set up systems to regulate the new technology.

Systems will be developed using existing regulatory principles and will also incorporate the specific technical and scientific aspects that apply uniquely to nanotechnology. In 2015 the APVMA released a report that is guiding development of nanotechnology regulation in Australia.

International trilateral assessment and review of pain-relief medication for sheep

This project involved staff from the APVMA and our Canadian and New Zealand Government counterparts collaborating on what was the first ever trilateral joint review of a veterinary medicine. The work resulted in simultaneous access to a new veterinary medicine in three major markets leading to improved animal health and food safety in those countries. The process greatly reduced the demands on the registration applicant by essentially going through the registration process once instead of three times. This work establishes an important precedent that will reduce costs for agvet product registration applicants and improve the availability of new products to the users of agvet products.

Regulatory science training

The APVMA has been working with the University of England (UNE) to develop regulatory science learning units for their postgraduate program. Collaborating with the UNE and other tertiary institutes will provide avenues for prospective regulatory scientists to gain highly relevant training and will therefore increase the supply of regulatory scientists into the sector. UNE may also offer in-field placements to ensure prospective regulatory scientists have sound knowledge of agricultural practices, agvet product manufacturing processes and other factors affecting agvet product use. 

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