Shake-up on poppy industry regulations

THE regulatory processes of the Poppy Advisory and Control Board and the wider poppy industry, should be improved with yesterday's release of the Review of the Tasmanian Poppy Industry Regulation report, Attorney- General Brian Wightman said.

The report makes 16 recommendations on how to improve the regulatory board and industry's processes, including adjustments to aspects of the current system, rather than a significant structural reform.

Mr Wightman said that the report supported the continuation of the regulation of the poppy industry while recommending simplification and streamlining of the licensing process.

"The government supports the recommendations with minor variations," he said.

The report recommends all licences be issued by the board, but, it has been agreed that manufacturing licences should be issued by the health minister.

Legislation will be drafted to amend the Poisons Act where appropriate and will include changes to the membership of the board as well as allowing the board to continue to issue grower licences.

Mr Wightman said that functions not related to poppy industry regulation would be removed from the board.

"Policy and industry development functions will be undertaken by an inter- departmental committee with representation from Health, Primary Industries, Economic Development, Police and Justice," he said.

"There are some recommendations which will require the government to consult with industry stakeholders and that will be undertaken in a co-operative manner."

Mr Wightman said that the Department of Justice would now undertake a review of the board's business processes and administrative procedures to ensure "contemporary, necessary, and efficient regulatory processes" were in place.

Greens primary industry spokesman Kim Booth urged Mr Wightman to remove red tape without compromising public safety.

"At at a time when this pillar industry is facing new competitive pressures from interstate, the last thing we need is to be tying it up in unnecessary, outdated red tape and over-regulation," Mr Booth said.

The recommendations are expected to be fully implemented and operational before the end of June.

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