Federal agriculture minister David Littleproud is encourgaing industry battling the "mouse plague" to apply to the independent regulator of agvet chemicals for emergency permits to use "where they are needed".
ACM had asked the minister if he were confident Australia had the right approvals in place for effective substances to use in mouse plagues, and what the government had done since the problem emerged in western NSW last spring.
"While the mouse plague is primarily a state issue, the APVMA [Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority] does have a role in approving emergency use permits," Mr Littleproud said in a statement.
"There has only been one application for a permit this year.
"APVMA has approved that emergency use permit in response to a request from the cotton industry.
"I encourage industry to make further permit applications to the APVMA where they are needed to manage the mouse plague."
It comes after Barwon MP Roy Butler questioned government preparedness for what he called a "mouse plague" affecting parts of his electorate.
He said he had been advised by NSW agriculture minister Adam Marshall the state government had written to its federal counterpart requesting permission from the APVMA to allow farmers and councils to use restricted poisons to control mouse numbers.
Mr Butler said the permission was not looking likely, and he called on both governments to "push the bureaucrats" to act faster on making a decision about the way forward.
"In Australia mice plagues do happen from time to time, it's astounding to me that the government isn't prepared for this type of event," Mr Butler said.
"There should be established plague plans for when these events occur so we can hit the button on getting government action right away rather than running around trying to get approvals when they need to be out there taking action."
ACM contacted the office of Mr Marshall for comment, but had not received a response by deadline.
ACM asked the APVMA if it would consider granting permission to use restricted poisons and off label mixing, and if it were confident the substances currently approved for use were effective in controlling large numbers of mice.
"As of 25 February 2021, the APVMA has approved one emergency permit application (from Cotton Australia) in relation to a mouse bait to assist with the mouse plague," a spokesperson said.
"The permit was approved on 27 January 2021.
"The APVMA is currently processing a second request for an emergency permit to assist with the mouse plague.
"The APVMA will prioritise any further emergency permit applications it receives in relation to this matter.
"Rodenticide baits are safe to use in accordance with the APVMA approved label directions or permit conditions."
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