The objective of the Act is to provide a national notification and assessment scheme for the following purposes: aiding in the protection of the Australian people and the environment from the harmful effect of industrial chemicals, providing information on and making recommendations about chemicals to workers, industry, the community and other regulatory agencies, giving effect to Australias obligations under international agreements relating to the regulation of chemicals and collecting statistics in relation to chemicals.
NICNAS makes available chemical safety information free of charge, through a variety of mechanisms. These include the NICNAS website, NICNAS newsletters and brochures and the Chemical Gazette.
The Act requires the Director to publish all assessment reports prepared by NICNAS as well as specified information on an annual basis. Annual reporting in the Chemical Gazette is required for current and previous PECs, chemicals that require secondary notification, those that are the subject of low volume permits and chemicals introduced under exemption categories.
The Industrial chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Amendment (Low Regulatory Concern Chemicals) Act 2004 established a register of industrial chemical introducers in Australia. The register is publicly available through the NICNAS website.
Consistent with NICNASs mandate to provide chemical safety information to a range of stakeholders, NICNAS publishes brochures, safety information sheets, chemical alerts and guidance notes on industrial chemicals that target the needs of specific end users. Similarly, to meet the objective of collecting statistics in relation to industrial chemicals, NICNAS publishes a list of industrial chemicals that are manufactured and imported in Australia in large quantities, the High Volume Industrial Chemicals (HVIC) list.
Publication of NICNAS risk assessments and other assessment products and the information detailed above further enhances the transparency of industrial chemicals regulation.
All major projects undertaken by NICNAS are governed by the principles and protocols laid out in the NICNAS Community Engagement Charter. NICNAS utilises its existing advisory committee structure as a conduit for information dissemination to the chemicals industry, the community and Australian Government and state and territory agencies. NICNAS staff routinely liaise with industry and industry associations, employer and worker representatives and the public through the assessment process.
Extensive public consultation is undertaken on changes affecting the Scheme. Anyone (including the public) can nominate existing chemicals of health and/or environmental concern to NICNAS for priority review. Any member of industry or the community can appeal the Directors decisions under the Act through the AAT process.