NICNAS has continued to work with both national and international agencies on examining the potential health, safety and environmental impacts of manufactured nanomaterials, and on helping to ensure the effectiveness of Australiaís health and safety regulatory framework to deal with this emerging technology. This work has taken on even greater significance in light of the Australian National Nanotechnology Strategy announced by the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP on 1 May 2007.
A key aim of the strategy is to ensure Australia captures the full benefits of this technology while addressing health, safety and environmental issues. The strategy encompasses better coordination and the strategic focus of policies and programs between Commonwealth, state and territory governments, and international engagement on standards and regulation. NICNASís engagement with this strategy is through the HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) working group.
During the year NICNAS participated in an independent study by Monash University to assess the effectiveness with which Australia's regulatory frameworks can manage the potential risks of nanotechnology. The project was initiated by the HSE Working Group, and the final report is expected in August 2007. NICNAS also initiated the establishment of a Nanotechnology Advisory Group to provide advice on strategic approaches that NICNAS should take in managing issues around nanotechnology. The group will be made up of representatives from the community, industry, and scientific experts.