The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has decided to re-authorise AgStewardship Australia Limited on behalf of itself, its members, Agsafe Limited and current and future participants in arrangements to impose a four cent per litre/kilogram levy on the sale of agricultural and veterinary (AgVet) chemicals.

The levy is ultimately passed onto end-users of the chemicals and funds the drumMUSTER and ChemClear® programs, which provide for the collection and disposal of unwanted, empty AgVet chemical containers and chemicals. Since 1999 around 22 million containers have been collected and 387 tonnes of chemicals have been cleared.

"The ACCC considers that the operation of the programs, facilitated by the levy, is likely to result in significant environmental and cost efficiency benefits," ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.

During consultation the ACCC received a number of submissions from interested parties, including State and Commonwealth agencies and agricultural and veterinary industry associations.

“Submissions received generally continued to support the programs and considered the programs to encourage environmentally responsible practices by facilitating the recycling and safe removal of AgVet chemicals and containers from the waste stream," Dr Schaper said.

The ACCC considers that the programs continue to result in a public benefit, and that the extent of the public benefit is likely to be larger now than previously by virtue of the increased scale of the programs.

Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.

Further information is available on the authorisation register.