Legislative Council: Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides

In reply to the Hon. T.A. FRANKS ().17 October 2023).

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): I am advised:

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is the Australian government regulator of agricultural and veterinary chemicals. For rodenticides to be legally manufactured, imported supplied, sold or used in Australia, they must be registered by the APVMA. The APVMA's registration process involves scientifically evaluating the safety and efficacy of products in order to protect Australia's trade and the health and safety of people, animals and the environment. My Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) is not responsible for registering any products for use, including rodenticides, but does have responsibility for ensuring that products, such as rodenticides, are used according to the label instructions approved by the APVMA.

There are several types of rodenticides that are approved for use by the APVMA including anticoagulant rodenticides and the non-anticoagulent rodenticides (zinc phosphide, cholecalciferol, bromethalin and strychnine). The second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides are often referred to as the 'single-dose' anticoagulants as a lethal dose can be ingested in a single feeding. There are five second-generation anticoagulant active constituents currently registered for use in Australia by the APVMA: brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone, difenacoum and flocoumafen. These active ingredients have been approved for use in and around domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural buildings but are not approved for use in crops, in the open or in other areas accessible to non-target animals or children.

I note the issues you have raised and reported in relation to off-target risks associated with the use of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides whereby you reported recent Australian studies have found dangerous and even fatal levels of SGARs in dead birds of prey and you reported there has been an increase in small native animals consuming poisoned rodents, resulting in secondary poisoning.

I am aware the APVMA has commenced a reconsideration (review) of anticoagulant rodenticide approvals and registrations to reassess the potential risks associated with the use of these products and to consider whether labels carry adequate instructions to protect the health and safety of people, animals and the environment. The APVMA's reconsideration is currently in the 'assessment' phase with publication of the proposed regulatory decisions expected in September 2024. This reconsideration process by the APVMA is the appropriate place for residue and secondary poisoning events and concerns to be reported and considered by the APVMA in relation to ongoing registration and label directions.

PIRSA does not provide any guidance in relation to the use of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides other than to use rodenticides in accordance with the mandatory label instructions. More detailed rodenticide use advice is typically provided directly to users by either industry bodies or by consultants/veterinarians. PIRSA is responsible for investigating any reported misuse of registered rodenticides and does so in accordance with the Agricultural and Veterinary Products (Control of Use) Actand regulations. I understand there have been no reports relating to the misuse of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides made to PIRSA in recent years for investigation.

I have not had any discussions with regard to the use of these products at the federal level in ministerial meetings.