Since 1 September 2004, legislation under the Industrial
(Notification and Assessment) Amendment (Low Regulatory Concern
Chemicals) Act 2004 (the LRCC Act) has required all
manufacturers of industrial chemicals for commercial purposes
those who introduce chemicals valued at between $1 and $499,999)
Australia to register with NICNAS. The Registration Year
continues to run
from 1 September to 31 August the following year.
of the new NICNAS Registration regime commenced early in the
2004-05 year with the mail out of letters to over 16,000
names were obtained from data held by the Australia Taxation
and/or the Australian Customs Service and/or NICNAS.
As a direct result of the mail out and the subsequent period of
4505 companies were listed in the Register of Industrial
Introducers at 30 June 2005. This represents a 477 per cent
in registered companies from 2003-04, an increase resulting
the introduction of the Tier 1 Registration level under the LRCC
Table 3 provides the numbers of registrants at each of the three
Registration Tier levels in 2004-05, while Figure 3 shows the
of registrants by level over the seven years that NICNAS has
the company registration system.
Number of registrants by Tier
level in 2004-05
VALUE OF INDUSTRIAL
between $1 and $4,999,999
between $500,000 and $5,000,000
more than $5,000,000
(Click to enlarge)
One spin-off from the intensive rollout of the Tier 1
program was a marked (29.3 per cent compared to 2003-04)
increase in the
number of Tier 2 and Tier 3 registrants. NICNAS's enhanced
audit program (reported in the Compliance section of this
contributed to this increase.
Following the initial mail out, NICNAS provided an industry
in each capital city for small to medium enterprises who had
Tier 1. Training for customs brokers who assist industry in both
and export of materials including industrial chemicals, was also
As part of the introduction of Tier 1 Registration, NICNAS used
a call centre
facility to handle anticipated follow-up enquiries. These, and
the number of
written enquiries, are detailed in Figure 4.
(click to enlarge)
Seven letters to the Minister and 44 letters of complaint to
NICNAS were received in relation to the introduction of Tier 1
Most of this correspondence related to the costs associated with
registration at Tier 1 ($353).
Late in the year, a Registration Performance Survey was
to measure the performance of NICNAS's implementation of Tier 1
Registration. Four hundred organisations which had little or no
contact with NICNAS prior to 2004-05, were surveyed. For the
of this survey, industry contact with NICNAS was defined as
a Tier 1 organisation and/or clarifying registration related
issues in the period
1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005.
One hundred and forty organisations responded to the survey:
• 26 per cent of respondents indicated they had further contact
with NICNAS since the initial mail-out informing them of their
need for registration
• only 16 per cent of respondents had used the website, however
58 per cent indicated a desire to complete NICNAS Registration
online with a further 24 per cent uncertain, and
• 93 per cent of respondents were satisfied that NICNAS had
fulfilled its obligations under the NICNAS Service Charter.
Overall, the survey gave positive feedback about the
which NICNAS staff interacted with industry clients. The survey
also provided useful suggestions for further improvement, which
implemented by NICNAS in the coming year.
Further details of NICNAS's Registration compliance program and
of companies registered with NICNAS, are given in the Compliance
of this report.
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Implementation of other initiatives for
of low regulatory concern
The LRCC Act came into effect on 9 August 2004, introducing a
of measures aimed at providing more options for introducers of
industrial chemicals while including safeguards to maintain
environmental standards. The specific measures implemented
2004-05 are detailed below with a scorecard of the LRCC
timetable detailed at Appendix 07.
A new range of exemptions
New LRCC exemptions introduced in 2004-05 include:
• a transhipment exemption for chemicals off-loaded and unopened
at an Australian port or airport for a short period (30 days) and
in control of Customs before leaving Australia
• an increase in the volume to 100 kg per year (formerly 10 kg
for the exemption of low risk chemicals
• an exemption for non-hazardous cosmetic ingredients introduced
in products at one (1) per cent or less, and
• an increase in the volume to 100 kg per year (formerly 50 kg
for the exemption of chemicals introduced for research, development
The extent of industry use of these exemptions will be measured
mandatory annual reporting becomes operational on 28 September
The Director, NICNAS can now put the particulars of a chemical,
any conditions to which it is subject, on AICS, making these
enforceable under the Act. Furthermore, applicants of new
chemicals under an assessment certificate may now request that
chemical be added to AICS immediately after the assessment
is received from NICNAS. In 2004-05, 16 chemicals were
added to the AICS under this new provision.
Audited self-assessment of non-hazardous chemicals
Interim arrangements for the audited self-assessment of Polymers
Low Concern (SAPLCs) were extended to other non-hazardous
including an audited self-assessed assessment certificate for
chemicals and polymers notified as a standard or limited
New fees for self-assessment applications were introduced in
2004 with a 40 per cent reduction in fees operating in all
categories. Further, self-assessed PLCs now have a 28-day
timeframe compared with the 90-day time period previously.
In 2004-05 a total of 52 PLC self-assessment
applications were received
by NICNAS, of which six were not accepted for self-assessment,
applicant withdrew another. The successful application of 39
represented savings to industry of $49,000 in application fees
Two standard certificate self-assessment applications were
to NICNAS, however they were not accepted as they failed to meet
criteria. Further savings occur with the reduced assessment
with industry's time to market enhanced by two thirds.
Electronic templates for notifiers
By developing electronic templates for use by industry, NICNAS
savings of about $55,000 directly to industry for 2004-05.
templates and guidance material developed for PLCs and
chemicals as part of the LRCC reform initiative are now
available on the
NICNAS website. Rebates are available to applicants who submit
notification of a new chemical electronically using these
the year, 43 STD and LTD notifications were submitted using the
template, leading to significant timesaving in NICNAS's
Existing Chemicals Program Review
NICNAS's Existing Chemicals Program is being
reviewed to enhance its
flexibility and responsiveness to the needs and concerns of all
The review was initially deferred to allow development of a
right-to-know charter with the CEF to guide NICNAS's review
The review recommenced in December 2004 when the NICNAS
Community Engagement Charter was complete.
The 10-member Existing Chemicals Program Review Steering
(RSC) includes representatives from the community, worker
and government, and has a role to set a framework for the review
oversees its activities. Details of the committee are given at
It included three technical working groups to deal with specific
of the review. The groups meet sequentially with the following
• Group 1:
detection and identification of hazards,
risks and concerns
• Group 2:
processes to address detected/identified hazards,
risks and concerns
• Group 3:
development of regulatory framework to ensure best
practice regulation of existing chemicals, including
national implementation of NICNAS guidance and
advice on safe use, elimination and risk reduction.
Focusing on the communication of chemical concerns to NICNAS and
mechanisms available to the various stakeholders, Group 1 met
and delivered its report - which included recommendations to the
and issues for consideration by the other groups - in May 2005.
is focusing on how NICNAS can best respond to chemical concerns
raised by stakeholders.
The review is expected to be completed in March 2006 and will be
implemented in 2006-07.
Definitions have been updated to accommodate amendments and
consistency with other legislation. Notably, the definition of
was amended to align it with the definition of 'cosmetic
product' in the
Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards)
The LRCC Act provides for new permit categories for low
hazard and low
risk chemicals, including a controlled use permit for chemicals
a highly controlled environment. Technical working parties began
low hazard and low risk criteria to give effect to the new range
in 2005-06. Permits can be renewed at a reduced price provided
circumstances of introduction and use are maintained. The global
on low volume (LVC) permits was also removed, allowing two or
companies to import the same chemical under permit, and a total
LVC permit amendments were issued in 2004-05, five of which were
permits issued to two or more companies.
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Science Forum III The Practice of Human Health Risk
Australia was held in Canberra in July 2004. Established as
part of the
response to the Chemicals and Plastics Action Agenda call for
mechanisms for best practice risk assessment, the Forum focuses
the human health risk assessment of chemicals.
Approximately 100 people (including 30 NICNAS staff) attended
the Forum, which was sponsored by the Population Health Division
within the DoHA.
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