2 9 NOV 2016 (Letter forwarded from Friends of the Earth)
Thank you for your email of 24 October 2016 to the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for
the Environment and Energy, about the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and
Marine Water Quality (the Guidelines) and their review. Your email was forwarded to me as I
am the minister responsible for the matters you raised.
I am advised the Guidelines are being reviewed by the Australian, New Zealand and
Australian State and Territory governments. A revised version is expected to be released in
2017. A major component of the review is the development of new default guideline values
which determine the conservative levels at which chemicals can be used safely to maintain the
ecological health of various aquatic environments. Default guideline values are included for
simazine and glyphosate in both fresh and marine waters, and for atrazine in fresh water.
Pesticides such as diuron and imidacloprid have also been assigned default guideline values.
It is important to note that the Guidelines are not mandatory and while most states and
territories use them to inform their policies on chemical product regulation, they are not
required to do so. Each state and territory is responsible for communicating how they will
apply the revised Guidelines prior to release. I encourage you to contact your relevant state
authority regarding this information.
Responsibility for the regulation of agricultural chemical products is shared between the
Australian and state and territory governments. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary
Medicines Authority (APVMA) is the independent national regulator for all agricultural
chemical products up to and including the point of sale. It conducts thorough scientific
assessments and chemical reviews, of the potential risks chemical products pose to human
health, the environment and trade.
APVMA’s processes also allow it to respond to new research findings and challenges. For
example, following a review of diuron approvals in 2012, the APVMA cancelled the
registration of some products and amended permitted use patterns for others to reduce risks
related to runoff. I refer you to the APVMA website if you would like to access further
information on its chemical reviews (apvma.gov.au/node/10916).
State and territory governments are responsible for the control of use of agricultural chemical
products. It is their responsibility to ensure that users comply with the APVMA-approved
product instructions, and to take action against breaches of agvet chemical regulations. If you
are aware of agvet chemicals being misused, I encourage you to contact the relevant state
Thank you for bringing your concerns to the government’s attention. I trust this information is
Barnaby Joyce MP