The Act provides for a national system of notification and assessment of industrial chemicals for the purposes of:
( i) aiding in the protection of the Australian people and the environment by finding out the risks to occupational health and safety, to public health and to the environment that could be associated with the importation, manufacture or use of the chemicals
(ii) providing information, and making recommendations, about the chemicals to Commonwealth, State and Territory bodies with responsibilities for the regulation of industrial chemicals
(iii) giving effect to Australias obligations under international agreements relating to the regulation of chemicals
(iv) collecting statistics in relation to the chemicals, and
(v) managing national standards for cosmetics imported into, or manufactured in, Australia and the enforcement of those standards.
Information about chemical safety is made available by NICNAS free of charge. Distribution vehicles include the NICNAS website, NICNAS newsletters and brochures and the Chemical Gazette (both hard copy and electronic). NICNAS also has a toll free telephone number.
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 priority existing chemicals, chemicals that require secondary notification, those that are the subject of low volume permits and chemicals introduced under exemption.
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 NICNASs website.
The national chemicals inventory (the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances) non-confidential section is also available on NICNASs website.
Consistent with its mandate to provide chemical safety information, NICNAS publishes brochures, safety information sheets, chemical alerts and guidance notes on industrial chemicals.
NICNAS publishes a list of industrial chemicals that are manufactured and imported in Australia in large quantities, the High Volume Industrial Chemicals list.
The publications enhance the transparency of industrial chemicals regulation.
All major projects undertaken by NICNAS are governed by the principles and protocols laid out in its Community Engagement Charter.
NICNAS utilises its existing advisory committee structure as a conduit for disseminating information to the chemicals industry, the community and Australian, State and Territory Government agencies.
NICNAS staff routinely liaise with industry and industry associations, employer and worker representatives, community interest groups and the public during assessment processes.
Public consultation is undertaken on any changes affecting NICNAS s operations.
Anyone, including the public, can nominate existing chemicals of health and/or environmental concern to NICNAS for priority review.