Quantity

A description of each of the various types of assessments undertaken by NICNAS is provided at Appendix 11. Detailed statistics of new chemicals assessment activity are provided in Appendix 12.

In 2005-06, a total of 359 notifications were received and accepted, comprising 209 applications for certificates and 150 for permits, a decrease of two per cent and an increase of 42 per cent, respectively from the previous year. NICNAS issued 202 assessment certificates and published assessment reports for each chemical, an equivalent number to the previous year. A total of 120 new chemical permits were issued, an increase of 13 per cent from 2004-05.

Trend analysis of assessments completed over the past ten years is provided in Figure 4. The data demonstrates a consistent increase in completed certificate assessments and a decline in permit assessments.

 

Figure 4: Trend analysis for completed certificate and permit assessments

1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
Certificates 144 109 107 152 183 164 125 189 200 202
Permits 146 89 117 128 138 119 151 162 106 120

No applications for secondary notific

A summary of applications for each notification category (in terms of the number of certificates or permits receiv ed over a four-year period) is illustrated in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Five-year trend data for New Chemicals Assessments by category certificates/ permits received

4: Trend analysis for completed certificate and permit assessments

Type 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
A: STD 43 32 62  56 41
B: LTD 53 64  51  43 45
C: PLC 64 73 85 43 61
D*: SAPLC - - - 52 45
E*: SANHP - - - 0 3
F*: SAHNC - - - 0 0
G: EXT 8 10 10 19 14
H: CEC** 33 43 20 26 56
I: LVC *** 45 79 104 30 42
J: EIP 42 43 60  49 52
K:Total**** 246 301 332  269 307

* D, E and F were only introduced in 2004-05

** includes five renewals in 2005-06

*** includes eight renewals in 2005-06

**** EIP not included in total

Please see Appendix 11 for a description of each notification type.

Cyclical increases and decreases have been observed with certificate applications, reflecting a general fluctuation in business activity over the past decade. NICNAS covers a wide variety of industries that manufacture and import industrial chemicals, and the fluctuations cannot be linked to any particular industry sector.

The number of Polymer of Low Concern (PLC) notifications has continued to increase with approximately half the applications in the last two years being submitted under the self-assessment category. The high level of Limited (LTD) category notifications received in 2004-05 was maintained with a slight decrease in Standard (STD) notifications. The number of applications for Extension of Assessment certificate (EXT) was slightly lower than last years number and remains an option under-utilised by industry.

The number of Commercial Evaluation Permit Category (CEC) permits increased compared to the previous four years with a doubling of applications compared to 2004-05, while the number of Low Volume Chemical (LVC) permit applications was higher than expected given the exemption categories available for this volume range.

Fifty-two Early Introduction Permits (EIPs) were received in 2005-06, virtually the same as received last year (49). These account for 35 per cent of certificate notifications received (excluding extensions and self-assessments). This type of permit enables chemicals that are not hazardous substances or dangerous goods and which meet certain environmental criteria to be introduced and used while the assessment is being undertaken by NICNAS.

The issuing of an EIP facilitates the introduction of safer chemicals whose entry into the marketplace would otherwise have been delayed until completion of a full assessment.

Five-year trend data for industry utilisation of EIPs (shown in Figure 6) demonstrate a sustained trend of about one third of certificate applications including an associated EIP application. The lower numbers of EIP applications observed in 2004-05 and 2005-06 may be due to uptake of self-assessment categories, which have shorter assessment timeframes.

Figure 6: Trend analysis of utilisation of EIP

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

EIP received

64

43

60

49

52

Total STD/LTD/PLC received

160

169

198

142

147

No applications for secondary notifications for assessed new chemicals were received during 2005-06.

The number of assessment certificates issued (either STD, LTD or PLC categories) since 2003-04 is represented under various industrial use categories in Table 7. As reflected in the three-year trend data shown in the table, surface coatings and printing/photocopying maintained a high level of notifications. Chemicals used in cosmetics, domestic products and fuel and oil were strong contributors to the use pattern of newly notified chemicals.

Table 7: Industrial uses of assessed chemicals (STD, LTD and PLC) over the period July 2003 to June 2006

Use category

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Adhesives

5

5

8

Building/Construction

1

1

6

Cosmetics

29

25

14

Domestic use

6

9

11

Electrical

0

0

0

Explosives

0

0

0

Fuel and oil

13

17

18

Leather processing

0

0

0

Mining

0

2

0

Packaging

0

0

1

Paper and pulp

1

2

2

Photographic

0

18

6

Plastics

15

11

9

Printing/Photocopying

37

39

21

Refrigeration

0

1

0

Surface Coatings

56

39

56

Textile processing

3

5

6

Water treatment

4

0

3

Other

19

6

18

Timeliness

New chemical assessment output performance against target timeframes is detailed in Appendix 12. One hundred per cent of non-self assessed certificate assessment reports (184) were provided to notifiers within statutory timeframes (90 days), above the agreed target of 95 per cent. Figure 7 shows the trend data for timeliness for non-self assessed assessment reports over three years.

One hundred per cent of assessment reports for applications for self-assessed assessment certificates (38) were sent within statutory timeframes of 28 days. Detailed statistics regarding new chemicals assessment reports are provided in Appendix 12.

Figure 7: Three-year trend analysis of timeliness (percentage of timeframes met) for certificate categories over three years

STD 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
STD 83 96 100
LTD 78 98 100
PLC 95 99 100

Both NICNAS and industry have statutory responsibilities with regard to the publication of assessment reports. Applicants may vary the assessment report and have a 14-day timeframe to lodge an application for variation, outlining the reasons for change. Twenty-two (22) applications for variations of assessment reports (or just under 11 per cent of all reports completed by NICNAS) were received during the year, of which ten were pending at 30 June 2006. All other variations were resolved satisfactorily between NICNAS and the applicant, with no appeals made by notifiers.

Applicants may also provide written consent to publish reports, withdraw the application or simply allow the publication process to proceed. If 28 days have elapsed since NICNAS provided the assessment report (s) to the notifier and no response have been received, NICNAS can publish the report(s). Industry performance over time against this timeframe is shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8: Three-year trend data for percentage of companies responding within timeframes from provision of report to written consent to publish (calendar days)

% Companies responding 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
1-14 days 48 67 52
15-28 days 25 18 23
> 28 days or no response 28 15 52

Approximately 52 per cent of notifiers responded within the 14-day timeframe. A further 23 per cent responded prior to the 28-day deadline for publication. Less than 25 per cent did not respond to NICNAS. This either triggered the publication process to proceed after the 28-day deadline, or additional time was sought by the notifier to submit comments. Where there was no response, NICNAS proceeded to publication.

NICNAS issued 99.5 per cent of certificates within the seven-day statutory timeframe. Just one certificate was issued one day late. Detailed statistics regarding new chemicals certificates are provided in Appendix 12.

Ninety-nine per cent of permits were issued within the agreed statutory and non-statutory timeframes. Figure 9 shows trend data for timeliness for permits over three years. Detailed statistics regarding new chemicals permits over a three-year period are provided in Appendix 12.

Figure 9: Three -year trend analysis of timeliness (per cent of timeframes met) for permit categories over three years (Target = 95 per cent)

Permit category Per cent of timeframes met
  2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
CEC 100 100 98
LVC 100 100 100
EIP 95 100 100

Efficiency

At the completion of the 2005-06 financial year, overall, NICNASs new chemical assessment output is close to input. Permit outputs were considered to be lower than inputs due to the higher levels of applications received in the last quarter. Table 8 details input and output for certificate and permit categories for the past three years.

Table 8: Input and output data for certificate and permit categories for 2002-03 to 2005-06

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Certificates

Input

179

208

213

209

Output

125

189

200

202

Permits

Input

165

184

105

150

Output

151

162

106

120

The trend for output to keep pace with input volume signals that no backlog is being created in the program, further delivering timeliness in through-put time for industry.