About the APVMA

The APVMA is an Australian government statutory authority established in 1993 to centralise the registration of all agricultural and veterinary chemical products into the Australian marketplace. Previously each State and Territory government had its own system of registration. The APVMA was previously known as the National Registration Authority (NRA).

Pesticides and veterinary medicines are vital to quality food and fibre production. Australia’s primary production is worth an estimated $30 billion a year with an export value of over $25 billion.

Download the About the APVMA fact sheet (PDF, 296kb).

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About the Registration System

Many primary producers rely on pesticides and veterinary medicines to protect their crops and animals from disease and pests.

There are over 9000 different pesticides and veterinary medicines products in the Australian marketplace. With such a wide choice of chemical products available, farmers need to know that the products they use will not only work, but will not harm themselves, their family, crops, animals or the environment.

The APVMA registers chemicals which are used in the household, such as insect sprays, personal insect repellents, products for treating diseases in home garden plants, and medicines for companion animals such as dogs, cats and horses.

That is why Australia has a national registration system, requiring that these products be evaluated before they can be legally supplied, sold or used. The APVMA is the agency responsible for managing this system.

For more information, see the APVMA Standard on Good Regulatory Science Practice.

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What does the registration system involve?

The APVMA assesses applications from chemical companies and individuals seeking registration so they can supply their product to the marketplace. Applications undergo rigorous assessment using the expertise of the APVMA’s scientific staff and drawing on the technical knowledge of other relevant scientific organisations, Commonwealth government departments and state agriculture departments. If the product works as intended and the scientific data confirms that when used as directed on the product label it will have no harmful or unintended effects on people, animals, the environment or international trade, the APVMA will register the product.

The time taken to register a product varies. A new product with a similar composition to an existing registered product takes as little as 3 months or less before it is registered and available for sale. More complex applications, such as the development of a new active constituent, may take up to 15 months to complete the detailed assessment leading to registration.

The APVMA’s role is that of an industry regulator. It is not involved in identifying opportunities in the marketplace and promoting registration of a product to meet this purpose. It is up to chemical companies and individuals to identify a need and develop a suitable product. Alternatively, farmer associations may identify a market for a new product and request chemical companies to develop and register a product that meets this identified need.

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Do all products used for agricultural or veterinary purposes require registration?

If a product claims that it controls a particular condition or has beneficial effects, it must be registered. To find out if a biological or natural product requires registration, contact the APVMA.

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How do I know if a product is registered?

Registered products carry a label approval number, usually at the bottom of the label. A small number of older product labels may not carry this label approval number, so if you are unsure, ask for confirmation from your supplier or contact the APVMA.

Does the APVMA do anything more than register products?

As well as registering new agricultural and veterinary products, the APVMA reviews older products that have been on the market for a substantial period of time to ensure they still do the job users expect and are safe to use. The APVMA also reviews registered chemicals when particular concerns are raised about their safety and effectiveness. The review of a chemical may result in confirmation of its registration or it may see registration continue with some changes to the way the chemical can be used. In some cases the review may result in the registration of a chemical being cancelled and products taken off the market. Chemical products can also become unavailable because the chemical company has taken them off the market for commercial reasons.

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Why should I use registered products?

By purchasing registered chemical products, you know:

  • they have been assessed as suitable for use under Australian conditions;
  • when used according to the label, they will not have any harmful effects on you, your family, your crops and animals or the environment;
  • you are complying with the law; and when used according to the label you will minimise waste and cost.

Contact the APVMA

If you would like to know more about the APVMA or any of its services please contact us.

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