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Greens stand firm as Senate caves on Ag Vet chemical reforms

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 14 Jul 2014

The Australian Greens said today that the Government and Opposition have weakened the nation's chemical and pesticide safety regimes by repealing reforms to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

"Reforms implemented during the last Parliament gave the APVMA power to properly review and remove highly hazardous and unmanageable pesticides from the market if they fail to meet today's scientific and regulatory standards, but today, the ALP have joined Tony Abbott in dismantling them," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens agriculture spokesperson said today.

"This improved regime allowed for efficient reassessments of chemicals and pesticides in use around the country, many of which have not been examined in light of modern standards. It is disappointing to see the ALP walk away from these important reforms.

"Australia will now fall back on outdated, ad hoc system of chemical and pesticide regulation that in the past has taken more than a decade to make decisions. We are being left behind internationally, with a number of chemicals currently used in Australia being taken out of use in other countries because the risks are simply too high to manage.

"Repealing these reforms ignores international benchmarks for chemical and pesticide safety and reduces our capacity to end the use of hazardous products with the highest levels of unmanageable risk.

"Today's vote will see delays and uncertainty around chemical and pesticide regulation for farmers, growers and industry, while communities and the environment will be put at risk.

"I moved an amendment to today's Bill, which sought to introduce a crucial set of criteria to ensure high priority pesticides were identified quickly and then re-assessed, but the ALP failed to even take this small step, siding again with Tony Abbott to vote them down.
"The Greens will continue to work to deliver stronger, safer and more effective reforms in this area," Senator Siewert concluded.


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