Pesticide Access via Minor Use Permits

Greenlife Industry Australia (GIA) manages the nursery industry Minor Use Permit (MUP) pesticide program under the Nursery Levy funded project NY15004 National Nursery Industry Biosecurity Program. GIA, and previously NGIA, has successfully undertaken this work on behalf of industry since negotiating with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) the ‘minor use status’ of nursery production in 2008. Since that time more than 60 MUPs have been applied for, plus 40 renewed, by GIA and approved through the APVMA.

The APVMA are the statutory body under Federal Government legislation that has the task of approving for use all pesticides in plant and animal production, as well as the domestic use of pesticides within Australia. Through linking legislation between states, territories and the Commonwealth the APVMA powers of registration extend across Australia supported by legislation and state/territory agencies.

Production nurseries have access to a suite of pesticides (fungicides, insecticides, herbicides, etc.) to manage the diverse range of plant pests (diseases, insects, weeds, etc.) that can impact on the extensive range of plants produced believed to exceed 30,000 species/cultivars.

Most of the modern pesticides available to production nurseries are via the APVMA MUP program. MUP’s legally allow the use of pesticides on a crop/pest combination that is not covered by the registered product label, in Australia. Most new active ingredients introduced into Australia do not have a ‘nursery stock’ registration hence GIA’s commitment to ensuring production nurseries have access to the most modern chemistry available through the MUP program.

The MUP application process is complex and requires GIA to draft an application for the active ingredient/plant pest that is capable of being assessed by the APVMA reviewers against a range of criteria including the broad headings of; Safety (human & environment), Trade and Efficacy. The APVMA further assess the application based on whether the pest is present in Australia, if there are other actives permitted for the crop/pest combination (registered or under a MUP) and, importantly, if any of these are in the same ‘Mode of Action Group’ as the new application. To seek further active ingredients within the same ‘Mode of Action Group’ GIA is compelled to provide a case for the need e.g. a different formulation or a phytotoxicity benefit, etc., before the APVMA will approve the application.

Once approved the APVMA issue the MUP with GIA advising industry through the various communication platforms and provides easy access to all MUPs through the technical website here: https://nurseryproductionfms.com.au/minor-use-permits-mups-for-pesticides/ . Each MUP issued has an effective life, generally about 3 years, at which time GIA must apply for a ‘Renewal’ and, again, this is reviewed and assessed by the APVMA as per the application for a new MUP. Recently the APVMA, without prior warning or consultation with GIA, rejected the 2020 GIA MUP applications which included renewing two multi-active MUPs (Insecticides - PER81707 and Fungicides – PER81491) and adding actives on single MUPs to these multi-active MUPs.

GIA has been making strong representation to the APVMA seeking their justification for the rejection of the renewal applications and have sought to have these MUPs reinstated as the APVMA have not provided clear technical grounds upon which to base their decision. GIA have further proposed to the APVMA a solution to the stalemate, which is currently under consideration, that will allow for a reduced size of future multi-active MUPs (maximum of 10 actives on a MUP) plus classifying active ingredients into ‘low or medium’ risk, based on the national and international review programs, allowing for longer MUP lifecycles going from 3 years to 5 or possibly 10 years. This option allows GIA to continue to seek out new chemistry as well as maintain exiting MUPs at the same level industry has grown accustomed to.

If you have any pesticides you believe should be applied for under the MUP program please email National Biosecurity Manager, John McDonald at: john.mcdonald@greenlifeindustry.com.au