MANAGEMENT   &
ACCOUNTABILITY

 

 

Corporate Governance

The stated outcome and outputs for NICNASís operations together
with performance measures for NICNAS are detailed in the DoHA budget
statements (PBS), the NICNAS Strategic Plan 2002-05, the NICNAS
Operational Plan 2003-04 and the NICNAS Service Charter 2002-05.

In addition, certain mandatory performance requirements (such as
assessment timeframes and public reporting of prescribed information)
are established in the Act. Performance reporting against the legislation,
corporate plans and operational plans is undertaken quarterly and is detailed
in the Operational Performance section of this report.

In accordance with the Act, NICNAS also has certain annual mandatory
reporting requirements, all of which were met in 2003-04 (see Appendix 01).
Internal audit arrangements are covered under the corporate service
level agreement (SLA) with DoHA. Internal audit activities for 2003-04
are reported in the DoHA Annual Report 2003-04.

NICNAS staff are covered by the DoHA Certified Agreement 2002-04
and are also covered by DoHAís governance policies and practices, including
the establishment and maintenance of appropriate ethical standards under
the Australian Public Service (APS) Values and Code of Conduct, compliance
with Australian Government Freedom of Information (FOI), Privacy and OHS
legislation, Australian Government Disability Strategy, workplace diversity
policy and other internal policies and procedures. Performance data
for governance policies and practices, relating to NICNAS, can be found
in the DoHA Annual Report 2003-04.

NICNAS has additional internal policies to cover the physical security
and protection of commercial-in-confidence information it receives from
industry in support of chemical notifications.

In 2003-04, NICNAS received two formal complaints on its operations
compared to one in 2002-03, seven in 2001-02 and two in 2000-01.

One complaint was on a confidentiality issue arising from an email
transmission error concerning company registration. While confidential
information was not in fact breached, steps have been taken to avoid
the release of unauthorised material from NICNAS or any other breach
in the future acting on advice from the Australian Government Solicitor.

The other complaint concerned an assessment certificate and assessment
report sent to the wrong address.

Both complaints were resolved to the satisfaction of those involved.

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NICNAS Industry Government Consultative
Committee

IGCC 19 Meeting
- November 2003

(L to R): Seated:
Mr Martin Jones (PACIA),
Dr Margaret Hartley (Chair,
NICNAS), Mr Nick Munafo
(PACIA) Standing: Ms
Bronwyn Capanna (ACSPA),
Mr Nick Miller (NICNAS),
Mr Shane Baker (DITR), Mr
Tim Reardon (ACCI), Mr
Tom Fisher (NOHSC), Mr
Michael Hambrook (APMF),
Mr Geoff MacAlpine
(ACSPA), Mr Graham
Barden (DEH), Ms Sylvia
Kidziak (ACCI), Mr Terry
Slater (TGA)

The NICNAS Industry Government Consultative Committee (IGCC) was
a key driver in ensuring NICNAS continued to broaden its strategic alliances
to better shape and deliver regulatory efficiency in 2003-04.

The efficient and effective utilisation of NICNAS resources and the Schemeís
operational performance are overseen by the IGCC, which is appointed by
the Minister. The IGCC membership, terms of reference and meeting details
for 2003-04 are at Appendix 02.

The IGCC met three times during 2003-04 including an out-of-session
meeting to specifically consider proposed fees and charges for 2004-05.
The 20th Meeting on 7 May 2004 included a joint morning session with
the newly formed CEF.

The focus of activities this year was on resolving proposed fees and charges
for 2004-05 and key reform initiatives, which are detailed at NICNASís
Reform Agenda section in this report.

 

Community Engagement
Forum - December 2003
(L to R) Ms Dusanka Sabic,
Ms Jane Bremmer,
Associate Professor Chris
Winder, Ms Sue Penniciuk,
Dr Bro Sheffield-Brotherton,
Cr Colleen Hartland, Dr
Margaret Hartley,
Mr Griffin DíCosta

IGCC members endorsed the NICNAS 2004-05 Operational Plan, the 2004-
05 Budget and at meetings during the year evaluated the efficiency
and performance of the IGCC process. Feedback indicated that papers were
received on time, were concise and included relevant information, and noted
the continuing focus on discussing broader regulatory policy issues affecting
the scheme and the significant advances made in developing strategies
for ongoing international co-operation.

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NICNAS Community Engagement Forum


The establishment of the CEF arose from NICNASís LRCC reform initiative.
The LRCC Task Force recognised the advantages to NICNAS in maintaining
an ongoing dialogue with the public through the establishment of a formal
consultative mechanism and recommended the establishment
of a community based Forum.

The CEF was established to assist the NICNAS office improve public access
to chemical safety information and address aspects of the communityís right
to know in relation to the control and use of industrial chemicals.
The Parliamentary Secretary appointed members to the CEF. The CEF
membership, terms of reference and meeting details for 2003-04 are
at Appendix 02.

The CEF met formally three times in 2003-04. The 3rd Meeting on 7
May 2004 included a joint morning session with the NICNAS IGCC.
A teleconference was held in the afternoon of 7 May 2004, to discuss
NICNASís Community Right to Know Charter and for NICNAS to provide
details on the LRCC reforms to members. An additional workshop was held
on 11 June 2004 to discuss NICNASís Community Engagement Strategy
and the CEFís input into the Review of the Existing Chemicals Program.

NICNAS/States and
Territories MOU Group
Meeting - February 2004

(L to R) Mr Greg Balka, Dr
David Grantham, Dr Jeff
Langley, Dr Margaret
Hartley, Mr Peter Haynes,
Ms Dusanka Sabic, Mr
Graeme Barden, Mr Joe
Crea, Mr Ian Graham, Ms
Michelle Jacobs, Mr Steven
Robbins

Priority work for the CEF includes improving public access to chemical
safety information through the development of a Community Right
to Know Charter, a communication strategy targeting the information needs
of specific groups and assisting NICNAS with advice and improving online
services.

The focus of activities this year was on finalising the Forumís Terms
of Reference, its work plan, Community Right to Know Charter, Community
Engagement Strategy and the CEFís input into the Review of the Existing
Chemicals Program.

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NICNAS States and Territories Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU)

The NICNAS/State and Territories MOU Group continued through 2003-04
as a feature of the co-operative arrangements NICNAS has established with
other governmental bodies, to assist in the exchange of chemical safety
information and discussion on chemical management issues including the
dissemination and implementation of risk reduction recommendations made
by NICNAS.

The MOU group meets biannually and currently consists of representatives
drawn from the OHS authorities of the various states and territories,
NOHSC, the DEH and NICNAS. During 2003-04, meetings were held on
3 December 2003 and 20 February 2004. The NICNAS/State and Territories
MOU Group Membership and Terms of Reference details for 2003-04
are outlined in Appendix 02.

State and territory representatives liaise with other agencies in their
respective jurisdictions to ensure NICNAS responds to their needs in the
area of industrial chemicals and to assist with the integration of NICNAS
recommendations into the controls applying to chemical usage. The Group
is also a key consultative point of contact on reform programs at NICNAS
such as the LRCC and the review of the Existing Chemicals Program.

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External Scrutiny

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

The Act specifies those decisions of the Director that may be taken before
the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for review. Appealable matters
include decisions on confidentiality, company registration and variations
of assessment reports.

No applications were made to the AAT during 2003-04 (as in 2002-03
and compared to four in 2001-02). The total number of appeals against the
Director's decisions since the introduction of the Scheme in 1990 is seven,
with five withdrawn and two found in favour of NICNAS.

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Management of Human Resources

At 30 June 2004, NICNAS employed 36 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff.
The staffing profile for NICNAS is shown in Appendix 03.

In addition 3.6 FTE assessment staff were funded by NICNAS as part of the
fee-for-service arrangements for environmental risk assessment with DEH.

Training and development activities for NICNAS staff in 2003-04 are reported
in Appendix 03. A total of 215 days of formal training (approximately 6 days
for each person compared to 3.65 in 2002-03) was undertaken in the year,
including orientation and induction training for new staff. Compulsory training
in awareness of APS values continued for all new staff and was offered to all
existing staff. New staff also received compulsory customer service training.

Two staff members undertook post-graduate study under APS Study Bank
provisions.

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Occupational Health and Safety

During 2003-04, two OHS inspections were undertaken at the Marrickville
office. The inspections indicated there were no major health or safety issues
within the premises.

Balmain Rehabilitation Services presented a seminar ĎErgonomics and Safe
Work Practicesí to all staff on 9 December 2003 and during December 2003
carried out OHS assessment of workstations of all new staff and of those
who requested one. Ergonomic requirements identified for individual staff
members were all promptly addressed.

Significant among the recommendations was the requirement of ergonomic
monitor stands and document holders to match the upgraded desktops.
All staff members were provided with new monitor stands and document
holders.

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Accident Incident Reports for year 2003-04

Two of the accidents occurred on the way to work.

In October 2003, Eileen Tso was awarded the TGA OHS Outstanding
Achievement Award for recognition of her efforts to ensure a continued
safe working environment for all staff and visitors at the NICNAS Office
in Sydney.

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Equity Performance

NICNASís contribution to the outcome of safe chemical use is underpinned
by the accessibility of assessment reports and other information to workers,
the community, industry and other regulatory agencies. To ensure open
access, assessment reports, guidance documents and other information
resources are available free-of-charge directly from NICNAS and also from
the website. Information is specifically targeted to the varied needs of the
end users. For example, the Safety Info Sheets produced by NICNAS are
specifically designed for display in the workplace.

NICNAS routinely liaises with industry applicants, employer and worker
representatives and the public through the assessment process and wide
public consultation is undertaken on changes affecting the Scheme.
The public can also nominate existing chemicals to NICNAS for consideration
for review. Any member of industry or the community can also appeal
the Directorís decisions under the Act through the AAT process.

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Financial Performance

NICNAS operates on a full cost recovery basis. Cost recovery is achieved
in two ways: company registration charges and fees, and fees and
administrative charges for new chemical assessments. Company registration
monies fund the assessment of existing chemicals, client awareness and
education activities, 50 per cent of the costs of compliance activities and
the administration of company registration itself. The remaining 50 per cent
of compliance activities is funded by an appropriation from the Government.

Under administrative arrangements, NICNAS's financial services matters
are provided through TGA/DoHA. These are purchased through service
level agreements. These administrative arrangements include the provision
of fraud control measures, disability and purchasing strategies, and the
management of human resources. This year saw the implementation
of a new fee structure which represented the first increase in six years.
Fees were negotiated with IGCC based on NICNAS's activity based
costing model.

Total funds cost recovered from industry in 2003-04 were $4,961,186.
At 30 June 2004, NICNAS retained $2,410,402 in cash at bank from cost
recoveries, including assessment fees received in advance, which is
available to cover employee leave provisions and other liabilities. Table 2
provides a summary of NICNAS's financial performance (accrual) for the
year. Auditing of NICNASís financial performance is undertaken as part
of the TGA-wide auditing process and is included in the financial
performance reporting in the DoHA Annual Report 2003-04.

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Company Registration

At 30 June 2004, there were 781 companies listed in the Register of
Industrial Chemical Introducers. This is a 3.3 per cent increase in registered
companies from 2002-03.

Some 539 (69 per cent) of these companies were registered at the lower
registration level with introduction values greater than $500,000 but lower
than $5,000,000, and 243 (31 per cent) companies were registered at the
upper registration level with introduction values greater than $5,000,000.
Figure 2 shows the number of registrants by level over the six years the
company registration system has been operating.

 

The total number of introducers registered with NICNAS has continued
to increase each year, confirming the robustness of our compliance audit
program. Upper level registration has plateaued over the last two years.
Lower level registration increased in 2003-04 by 4.7 per cent compared with
3.6 per cent increase in 2002-03. Results of the NICNAS audit program for
2003-04 are detailed in the Compliance section of this report, and continue
to be on a steady rate of increase.

The distribution of industry sectors among the 781 registrants is shown
in Figure 3.

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Industry Compliance with Company
Registration Renewals

Industry compliance with the renewal deadline (31 August) increased
marginally from previous years. Figure 4 shows industryís timeliness
pattern in relation to renewals over the past five years.

Industryís compliance rate with the renewal date has been consistently low.
However, there was a higher level of timely renewal responses for the 2003-
04 year. This higher response level is attributed to the introduction of
legislative 15 per cent late renewal penalty for company registration in 2003-
04, and an aggressive industry awareness raising campaign by NICNAS.

The late renewal penalty provision led to a 46 per cent increase in industry
compliance with renewal for 2003-04 compared with the previous year,
resulting in some 73 per cent of companies being registered on time.
Disappointingly, some 27 per cent of companies still failed to register
on time. Further, even though initial renewal of registration was
approximately 40 per cent higher than the past average on time renewal
rate, approximately 9 per cent of companies had still failed to renew
by one month after the renewal date.

Late renewal penalties raised $61,906 from 143 companies during 2003-04.
These were a combination of upper and lower levels. Late penalties were
imposed on 34 upper level registrants (equivalent to $39,948) and 109 lower
level registrants ($21,958).

Regular debtors follow-up, and compliance action up to 30 June 2004, led
to only three companies with renewals still pending. Although payment had
not been finalised by the end of the year, two of these companies were
in the process of paying as at 30 June 2004 and the third companyís debt
recovery has been put into the hands of the Australian Government Solicitor.

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Consultancies Commissions and Discretionary
Grants

Consultancies commissioned by NICNAS in 2003-04 are listed in Appendix
04. NICNAS did not make any discretionary grants for 2003-04.

Advertising and Market Research

Media advertising organisations used by NICNAS in 2003-04 are listed
in Appendix 05.


Freedom of Information


NICNAS received no FOI requests in 2003-04.


Ecologically Sustainable Development and
Environmental Performance


NICNAS operates its chemical risk assessment activities to be consistent
with the Governmentís policy parameters of ecologically sustainable
development (ESD) as outlined in section 3A of the Environment Protection
and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. NICNAS ensures that ESD policy
is applied consistently in the assessment of environmental risk for individual
chemicals through the co-operative partnership arrangements with DEH,
who apply scientific principles and related ESD policy in undertaking
environmental risk assessment activities. Details of how the principles
and practices of ESD are applied to NICNAS risk assessment practice
are found in Appendix 06.

 

 
 

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