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Friday, 28 June 2013
Page: 4438


Senator SIEWERT (Western AustraliaAustralian Greens Whip) (10:58): I rise in support of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 and seek leave to table a letter which I have circulated to the whips, which is the government's response to the concerns that we have raised through our report on the committee inquiry into this bill.

Leave not granted.

Senator SIEWERT: The Greens believe that Australians should have access to the safest and smartest methods and chemicals available for pest management in their homes and gardens and, in particular, for the production of the nation's food. However, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority has never had the proper legislative triggers it needs to systematically review and quickly remove highly hazardous and unmanageable pesticides from the market, making way for safer pesticides.

Australia still allows highly hazardous pesticides banned in other countries. It permits pesticides to be used in our food that are known to cause cancer and mutations. It allows pesticides that cause reproductive damage and long-living pesticides that build up in the environment and in wildlife, where they cause damage. The APVMA is one of the last regulators in the world to recognise that, for example, the insecticide Endosulfan was unmanageable, despite all of the scientific evidence clearly labelled for it. Endosulfan is now listed on the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and is banned globally. It will take years before its residues disappear from our bodies and the environment. The authority to date has taken an ad hoc approach to chemical review. There is no rationale for what ends up on the chemical review list. We believe these changes are necessary. You should not continue to have on the list a pesticide that is a known carcinogen.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Fawcett ): Order! The time allotted for the consideration of these bills has expired.

The PRESIDENT: The question is that the bill be now read a second time.