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Background to the ECP Review

The review of the NICNAS ECP was undertaken independently between May 2003 and December 2006. Central concerns the Review sought to address were:

  • Most chemicals on the national inventory were “grandfathered” onto it, with no assessment of their effects on human health and the environment either by NICNAS or by similar overseas regulatory organisations; and
  • The complexity of PEC assessments. PEC assessments are completed by the ECP when concerns are raised with NICNAS about occupational health and safety, public health and environmental effects of a chemical listed on the AICS.

The Review found that the assessment process is not flexible enough to respond adequately, or in a resource-efficient manner, to concerns of stakeholders.

 

The Review sought mechanisms to better determine national priorities for the assessment of existing industrial chemicals, better utilise relevant overseas testing and assessment reports, and better address the needs of the community, government and industry regarding access to scientifically sound information on industrial chemical hazards and risks.

 

The Review involved considerable consultation with business, the community and governments, and was guided by an independent Review Committee and several technical working groups.

 

Its report contains 23 recommendations that aim to improve flexibility and increase responsiveness to stakeholder needs and was agreed to by Government.

 

An implementation strategy was developed in 2007, agreed by the Government, which addresses work done in six implementation streams: communications; screening, prioritisation and assessment products; monitoring; consultation; referring various matters outside of NICNAS’s control to a Council of Australian Governments Ministerial Taskforce; and improving current practice.

 

NICNAS is guided in its implementation of Review recommendations by an Implementation Steering Group, consisting of representatives from governments, industry and the community, which is in turn supported by a Technical Working Party which was established to address the more technical recommendations.

 

This work is supported by consultative mechanisms such as expert working groups and stakeholder workshops, which are designed to develop the best means of implementing recommendations.

 

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