Requirements and regulations - a Victorian perspective
Catherine Hollywell, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, 475 Mickleham Road, Attwood, Victoria 3049, Australia.
In introducing this area it is important first to sketch the scene in Victoria within which requirements and regulations are established. Requirements can be placed on various parties along a product trail, in this case a 'biotechnology' or 'genetically modified organism' product trail. The requirements may be mandatory, through legislation and regulations, or may be voluntary through Codes of Practice, guidelines for operation etc. When to introduce a regulatory requirement entails Government making an assessment of market failure. Market failure occurs when, for example, the price of a product, or service, does not fully reflect the cost of production.
All Government agencies are under public scrutiny and generally operate in an environment of diminishing resources. If market failure exists, Government then examines the cost of intervention. If the costs of intervention are greater than the benefits it is more efficient if no Government activity takes place.
Whilst the basic principles of market failure are relatively simple actual analysis becomes complex especially when factors are taken into consideration which are difficult to cost and describe, e.g. clean air. Clean air is not priced, and how clean is clean?
Plant Protection Quarterly (2000) 15 (2) 82-84.