Avoiding conflicts of interest: Compliance within Australia’s national regulator of pesticides

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Environmental and Planning Law Journal


Thomson Reuters


School of Arts and Humanities




Larsen, A. C. (2018). Avoiding conflicts of interest: Compliance within Australia's national regulator of pesticides. Environmental and Planning Law Journal, 35(4), 378-391.

Available here.


The potential for conflicts of interest is present at the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, Australia's national regulator that approves pesticides for sale. The Authority's mandate is to regulate the lucrative pesticide industry to benefit both "business" and the "community". How does the Authority safeguard against conflicts of interest in this highly contested space where other regulators have encountered regulatory capture and the revolving door phenomenon? I argue that possible regulatory capture hangs over the Authority whose priorities look clear; yet, commercial and community interests, which do not always align, compete for attention. This article relies on secondary materials to explore how the Authority manages the potential for perceived and actual conflicts of interest. Although the Authority reports no recent conflicts of interests, its historical vulnerabilities, management weaknesses and labile workforce confirm that conflicts of interest require extra vigilance, transparency and oversight to maintain the community's trust.

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