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Interim APVMA boss challenged to get performance back on track

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the appointment of Dr Chris Parker as the interim Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

President Fiona Simson said Dr Parker’s experience made him a logical choice for the position.

“Dr Parker has a unique mix of skills and experience having been a farmer, a veterinarian and a high-level bureaucrat. Three lines of work that I believe will stand him in good stead in this role.”

Ms Simson said Dr Parker had a challenge ahead of him to lead efforts to put the regulator back on track in terms of performance in the midst of its relocation to Armidale.

“The March 2017 quarter approval results revealed some of the worst statistics in the history of the regulator.”

In the past quarter only 30% of applications for crop protection products were completed in line with statutory time frames. This was down from 82% from the September 2016 quarter. In addition only 58% of applications for new animal medicines were processed, compared to 84% in the September 2016 quarter.

Ms Simson said slow approvals meant farmers were missing out on new, more effective and possibly, more economical pesticides and animal medicine products.

“Having been a farmer himself, Dr Parker, would know only too well, the reliance we place on effective weed, pest and disease controls.

“Without them, farmers’ bottom lines are compromised and Australian agriculture’s international competitiveness is threatened.”

The NFF has longed expressed reservations about the relocation of the APVMA to Armidale and the potential for negative impacts on its ongoing services, performance and business.

Ms Simson said the NFF’s message to Dr Parker was clear: “We want to see more done to ensure the regulator’s performance does not continue to deteriorate during the transition period.

“We’d welcome the opportunity to meet with Dr Parker in the near future, to learn more about how this can be achieved.”

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