Chapter 1 – New and continuing matters
This chapter lists new matters identified by the committee
at its meeting on 23 June 2014, and continuing matters in relation to which the
committee has received recent correspondence. The committee will write to the
relevant proponent of the bill or instrument maker in relation to substantive
matters seeking further information.
Matters which the committee draws to the attention of the
proponent of the bill or instrument maker are raised on an advice-only basis
and do not require a response.
This chapter includes the committee's consideration of 18
bills introduced between 2 and 19 June 2014, in addition to eight bills
which have been previously deferred, and 51 instruments received between 31 May
and 6 June 2014.
Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation
Amendments (Removing Re-approval and Re-registration) Bill 2014
Introduced: House of
Representatives, 19 March 2014
The Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendments
(Removing Re-approval and Re-registration) Bill 2014 (the bill) seeks to amend
the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994 to:
remove requirements for mandatory periodic re-registering of agricultural
chemicals and veterinary medicines (together, 'agvet chemicals'), which would otherwise
commence on 1 July 2014;
prevent the expiry of active constituent approvals and prevent
the application of dates after which a registration cannot be renewed;
enable the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines
Authority (APVMA) to require information to be provided about substances supplied
as a chemical product;
simplify how variations to approvals and registrations are
processed by APVMA; and
enable APVMA to charge a fee when it provides copies of documents
in its possession.
The bill would also make consequential amendments to the Agricultural
and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994, Agricultural and Veterinary
Chemical Products (Collection of Levy) Act 1994, Agricultural and
Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment Act 2013 and the Food
Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991.
Committee view on compatibility
Right to health and a healthy
The right to health is guaranteed by article 12(1) of the International
Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and is fundamental to
the exercise of other human rights.
The right to health is understood as the right to enjoy the highest
attainable standard of physical and mental health, and to have access to
adequate health care and live in conditions that promote a healthy life
(including, for example, safe and healthy working conditions; access to safe
drinking water; adequate sanitation; adequate supply of safe food, nutrition
and housing; healthy occupational and environmental conditions; and access to
health-related education and information).
The right is not, however, a right to be healthy, as such, given that individual
health is not something wholly within the ability of the State to control.
Under article 2(1) of ICESCR, Australia has certain obligations in
relation to the right to health. These include:
the immediate obligation to satisfy certain minimum aspects of
the obligation not to unjustifiably take any backwards steps that
might affect the right;
the obligation to ensure the right is made available in a
non-discriminatory way; and
the obligation to take reasonable measures within its available
resources to progressively secure broader enjoyment of the right.
Removal of mandatory
As noted above, the bill seeks to remove requirements for mandatory
periodic re-registering of agvet chemicals (to commence on 1 July 2014).
This requirement was introduced by the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals
Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (the AVCLAA), which was enacted in June
2013. Prior to this, there was no mandatory requirement for agvet chemicals,
once approved or registered, to be reviewed.
The explanatory memorandum (EM) for the AVCLAA stated that the
re-registration requirements were intended 'to provide greater certainty to the
community that chemicals approved for use in Australia are 'safe' and to 'provide
better protection for both human health and the environment'.
The statement of compatibility for the bill identifies the removal of
the re-registration requirement as engaging the right to health and a healthy
environment. On the potential for the measure to limit this right it states:
Removing re-registration removes an opportunity for the APVMA
to confirm that chemical products supplied to the market are the same as the
product evaluation and registered.
In concluding that the bill promotes the right to health, the statement
of compatibility notes that the reduction in the APVMA's 'opportunity' for
mandatory periodic evaluation of agvet chemicals:
...can be addressed in part by improving the ability of the
APVMA to require a person who supplies an agvet chemical product in Australia
to provide information...about the product they are supplying.
However, the committee notes that the measure may be considered a
limitation on the right to health, to the extent that the reduced opportunity
for evaluation of substances that may be unsafe or unhealthy may lead to
adverse health impacts or environmental conditions. A detailed justification
for this limitation is not provided in the statement of compatibility.
The committee's usual expectation where a limitation on this right is proposed
is that the statement of compatibility provides an assessment of whether the
limitation is reasonable, necessary, and proportionate to achieving a
The committee therefore seeks the advice of the Minister for
Agriculture as to whether the removal of the re-registration requirement for
agvet chemical is compatible with the right to health and a healthy environment
and in particular how the measures are:
aimed at achieving a legitimate objective;
there is a rational connection between the measures and the
the measures are proportionate to that objective.
Right to a fair trial and fair
The right to a fair trial and fair hearing are contained in article 14
of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The right
applies to both criminal and civil proceedings, to cases before both courts and
tribunals and to military disciplinary hearings. The right is concerned with
procedural fairness, and encompasses notions of equality in proceedings, the
right to a public hearing and the requirement that hearings are conducted by an
independent and impartial body.
Circumstances which engage the right to a fair trial and fair hearing
may also engage other rights in relation to legal proceedings contained in
Article 14, such as the presumption of innocence, the right against self-incrimination
and minimum guarantees in criminal proceedings.
Reintroduction of the right not to
The bill would re-introduce the right not to incriminate oneself in the Agricultural
and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994. Specifically, the bill will
introduce provisions which confirm that, where an individual is required to
give information, produce a document or do any other thing, unless the
individual has a reasonable excuse, there is no intention to abrogate the
privilege against self-incrimination.
The statement of compatibility notes that this measure promotes the
right not to incriminate oneself.
The committee notes that the rights to a fair trial and fair hearing rights
protected by the ICCPR include protection against self-incrimination.
Accordingly, the committee considers that the measure promotes
the right to a fair trial.
Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page