The National Registration Scheme for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals
The regulatory framework for managing pesticides and veterinary medicines in Australia is collectively referred to as the National Registration Scheme for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (NRS). The NRS is a partnership between the Commonwealth and the states and territories, with a shared division of responsibilities.
The APVMA administers the NRS in partnership with state and territory government agencies, with collaboration from other Commonwealth agencies. The Primary Industries Ministerial Council (PIMC), and its associated committees are responsible for policy development.
The Primary Industries Ministerial Council (PIMC) (external site) consists of the Australian, state, territory and New Zealand government ministers responsible for agriculture, food, fibre, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture industries, production and rural adjustment policy. Amongst other things PIMC is responsible for agricultural and veterinary chemicals policy.
Find out more about the role of PIMC.
Under the NRS, the APVMA is responsible for the assessment and registration of pesticides and veterinary medicines and for their regulation up to and including the point of retail sale in Australia. The APVMA is also responsible for monitoring compliance in the marketplace and for reviewing registered chemical products to ensure that they continue to meet high contemporary standards.
State and territory governments are responsible for controlling the use of pesticides and veterinary medicines beyond the point of retail sale. In some states, more than one agency is involved.
The NRS has a number of feedback loops to ensure that human health, safety, the environment and trade are protected from harmful levels of agricultural and veterinary chemicals. This includes:
- an extensive food residue testing system involving local, state and Commonwealth regulators. DAFF undertakes random, targeted and compliance residue monitoring through the National Residues Survey (external site), while Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) monitors the food supply through the Australian Total Diet Study (external site). This system is supplemented by wide ranging testing undertaken by commodity groups and supermarket chains.
- environmental monitoring by Commonwealth, state and territory environmental protection agencies, statutory authorities and tertiary institutions
- adverse experience reports from chemical users through the APVMA’s Adverse Experience Reporting Program
- advice from Commonwealth and state government agencies, other national and international regulators and scientific institutions.
Management and regulation of other chemical products
- Industrial chemicals (eg dyes, solvents, adhesives, plastics, paints, chemicals in cosmetics, toiletries and cleaning products) are managed by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification & Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) (external site)
- Medicines and Medicinal Products (eg prescription and non-prescription drugs, complementary medicines and some medical devices) are managed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) (external site)
- Food additives, contaminants and natural toxicants are managed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) (external site)