COMMUNICATION & SERVICES
During 2004-05 enhanced public access to chemical safety
and maintaining a customer and service delivery focus to meet
Government policy, ensured NICNAS had well informed and actively
Our communication strategies focus on
targeted alliances to ensure
the efficient distribution of information to increase knowledge
• the work of NICNAS
• existing and proposed regulatory requirements, and
• the safe use of chemicals.
During 2004-05 NICNAS responded to 2909 (compared to 1510 in
public enquiries, which took 1356 (487 in 2003-04) hours to
was made up of 2029 telephone enquiries and 880 written
In addition, for the first year of NICNAS Tier 1
Registration, there were:
• 7479 telephone enquiries (to the call centre and NICNAS,
general and technical), and
• 130 written and 1200 email enquiries
all handled within Service Charter timeframes.
The number of telephone enquiries rose significantly from
(1209 in 2003-04, 1446 in 2002-03, 1725 in 2001-02, 1752 in
1598 in 1999-2000) as did written enquiries (301 in 2003-04, 358
398 in 2001-02, 205 in 2000-01, 187 in 1999-2000). For full
details on public
enquiries to NICNAS see Appendix 14.
NICNAS received 140 media
enquiries during 2004-05 (154 in 2003-04,
150 in 2002-03). Key issues included polybrominated flame
(PBFRs), PFOA/Teflon, cosmetics, nanotechnology, household
sodium cyanide and NICNAS Tier 1 Registration.
NICNAS received 171 email enquiries to our general email
NICNAS staff were active in awareness raising and information
activities such as presentations (11), conferences (11),
progressing international harmonisation activities (10),
(23) and site visits (11). These are detailed at Appendix 15.
NICNAS publications for 2004-05 are detailed at Appendix 16
13 editions of the Chemical Gazette, the NICNAS
Service Charter 2004-05,
four Existing Chemicals Information Sheets and two
A monthly summary of key issues at NICNAS - NICNAS NEWS -
with the monthly Chemical Gazette alerts. In addition,
a total of 200 new chemical assessments on the web.
NICNAS released three issues (December 2004, March 2005, June
of its newsletter, NICNAS matters.
NICNAS matters 11 (December 2004) featured articles on
Convention, NICNAS Registration, methylene chloride, phthalates,
and the third Science Forum.
NICNAS matters 12 (March 2005) featured articles on
Guidelines for 'No Unreasonable Risk' - New Exemption
the Community Engagement Forum, and PBFRs.
NICNAS matters 13 (June 2005) featured articles on the
Requirements: Annual Reporting Requirements for Chemical
E-Notification of New Chemicals, the Australian High Volume
Chemicals List, Changes to NICNAS fees and charges,
PBFRs, sodium cyanide and cosmetics.
NICNAS advertisement activity is detailed at Appendix 05. In
it focused on promoting new NICNAS Registration requirements.
Website statistics for 2004-05 are detailed at Appendix 17.
594,614 user sessions on the NICNAS website in 2004-05 compared
to 445,619 in 2003-04, a 34 per cent increase.
Total hits for
the year were over 10 million - equivalent to the total of the
two previous years (six million in 2003-04 and four million in
The most requested web Operational_Performance are shown in Table 23 below.
23 Most requested website
Chemicals in Australia
News-Paraben Breast Cancer
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All NICNAS's timeframe targets for responsiveness to enquiries
telephone (94 per cent completed within 24 hours, against a
target of 85 per
cent, and the remainder within 28 days) and in writing (78 per
within 24 hours and 16 per cent in seven days, that is, 94 per
seven days, against a target of 85 per cent) were exceeded in
(see Appendix 14).
All media enquires were handled within
Twelve of the 13 issues of the Chemical Gazette were
the statutory deadline, which is on the first Tuesday of each
remaining gazette was published as a special gazette detailing
changes for LRCC as a reference document for industry.
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NICNAS continued to provide clear and accessible information on
website - www.nicnas.gov.au - during 2004-05 to assist importers
manufacturers of industrial chemicals in Australia in fulfilling
obligations, as well as the community to engage with NICNAS.
The newsletter, NICNAS matters, is a central element to
enhance access to
chemical safety information by industry clients, the community,
agencies and the media. Printed copies of the December 2004,
June 2005 issues were distributed to 5000 clients and
NICNAS Matters was also available on the website.
NICNAS's communication staff maintained an effective media
strategy and provided considerable assistance to media in
scientific information on chemical matters. In addition, NICNAS
specific media enquiries resulting in print and television
as detailed at Appendix 16.
The NICNAS Service Charter defines NICNAS's service standards,
the standards of service that the users of the Scheme and the
In 2004-05, two customer surveys were conducted on
performance against its service standards: the first survey -
Service Charter Survey - targeted Tier 2 & Tier 3 registrants,
second survey - the Registration Performance Survey - targeted
registrants. Details of the findings from the latter survey are
in the Reform section of this report.
Service Charter survey
Two hundred and three randomly selected organisations were
by mail, most of whom had been in contact with NICNAS prior to
Industry contact with NICNAS for the purposes of this survey is
contact through notification and assessment of new chemicals,
treaties concerning existing chemicals and Priority Existing
company registration with NICNAS, AICS searches, general
compliance activities for the period 1 April 2004 to March 31
Ninety-eight organisations (48 per cent) responded to the
Overall, positive feedback was received indicating a good
level of service
in a number of key areas:
• 88 per cent of respondents found staff to be helpful and
always, or most of the time compared to 94 per cent in
The shortfall is mainly attributable to respondents selecting
applicable’ or ‘no response’
• 85 per cent of respondents found their questions and
answered within 28 days compared to 86 per cent in 2003-04
• 91 per cent of respondents found written explanations
or most of the time, compared to 88 per cent in 2003-04
• 85 per cent found that NICNAS provided accurate and
information always or most of the time, the same as 2003-04
• 96 per cent of respondents were aware of the NICNAS
same as 2003-04. Of these, 76 per cent found the web site
navigate down from 96 per cent in 2003-04. The decrease from
cent to 76 per cent is largely attributable to the number of
jumping from 2 per cent to 18 per cent
• 74 per cent of respondents were satisfied with NICNAS's
The NICNAS website has been redesigned in response to
in our customer surveys, and to reflect the latest Internet
trends. The new website goes live on 1 July 2005.
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The NICNAS website received positive feedback in the Customer
with 76 per cent of respondents finding the website easy to
Over 1500 chemical assessment reports on individual
are featured on the website. Users can conduct searches on
• chemical name
• trade name
• Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number
• hazardous status, and
• OECD industry use category.
All material on the NICNAS website is freely available
access to chemical safety information by the public, government
and industry, which fulfils a key requirement of the Act. In
Australian Government publishing guidelines, NICNAS maintains
of printed information material and provides a print-on-demand
its website. Electronic templates continue to reduce time and
costs to small
businesses in making applications for assessments.
Database at NICNAS
The integrated information system, Database at NICNAS (D@N),
to ensure efficiencies within the organisation. The database was
web-based technology and during 2004-05 was upgraded to meet
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One copy of the Handbook for Notifiers and was sold in
in 2003-04) reflecting the continued trend by customers of using
publications. All other NICNAS printed materials are available
to industry. A total of 200 new chemicals reports completed by
2004-05 were made available to the public free-of-charge.
to industry are achieved by a focus on electronic publications.
The move to place the Handbook for Notifiers and AICS online has
to savings to industry in the order of $20,000 over the past