International arrangements for sharing information on new industrial chemicals were continued in 2006-07, when a renewed Canada-Australia Bilateral cooperative arrangement was signed by NICNAS on behalf of Australia and by the Canadian departments of Health and the Environment. The renewed arrangement and revised workplan reinforce the strong commitment by both Canada and Australia to work-sharing arrangements and harmonisation of chemical regulation, where possible.

Under the arrangement, the Scheme can receive environmental/health assessment reports from Canada for new chemicals. Free EIPs are available for PLCs where they were assessed as Low Concern Polymers in Canada and a validation letter or report from Canada is provided, in which case rebates are available.

Benefits of the arrangement include increased efficiency achieved through greater transparency in new industrial chemical assessments. It can also lead to a possible reduction in animal testing, a reduction in resources needed for new industrial chemicals work in governments and industry, and faster product introduction for some chemicals.

Work is continuing towards recognising Canada as a foreign scheme under the Act and extending the Bilateral Arrangement to existing chemicals.

Details of notifications received this year, which take advantage of this arrangement, are provided in New Chemicals.