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Notice 3

NOTICE REGARDING PROPOSED MINOR AMENDMENT TO TRANSHIPMENT EXEMPTION PROVISION UNDER THE INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS (NOTIFICATION AND ASSESSMENT) ACT 1989


Purpose

 

NICNAS seeks views by COB Friday 02 March 2012 on a proposed amendment to the wording of the transhipment exemption provision (Sn 21(6)(b)) of the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 (the Act) to better reflect transhipment of industrial chemicals through Australia.

 

Background

 

Section 21 of the Act provides for a number of exemptions to the requirement for the notification and assessment of new industrial chemicals, that is, chemicals not already listed on the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances. One of these exemptions addresses new chemicals that will be transported to a third country via Australia, but will not be used or released in Australia.

 

This transhipment exemption was introduced into the Act in 2004 on the basis of a recommendation arising from consultations on the NICNAS Low Regulatory Concern Chemicals (LRCC) Initiative in 2003. The relevant recommendation was to “introduce a Transhipment Exemption for instances when chemicals are offloaded at an Australian port of entry and remain in containment unopened for a short period (30 days) before reshipment out of Australia.”

 

The legislative provision at Sn21(6)(b) was drafted to state that the chemical “remains subject to the control of Customs … at the port or airport [of introduction] at all times before leaving Australia”(see Table 1 for a full reproduction of Sn 21(6)(b)).

 

A further consultation as part of a 2009 evaluation of the impact of the implementation of recommendations from the 2004 LRCC Initiative lead to the proposal that the transhipment exemption “be extended to include custom-bonded warehouses”. The rationale was that the transhipment exemption has extremely low uptake by industry and that “larger companies who have need of such an exemption often prefer to keep goods in their own custom-bonded warehouses”.

 

Proposal

 

To address the proposal from the 2009 evaluation, NICNAS proposes to remove a reference in Sn21(6)(b)(ii) to “at the port or airport” in regard to where the chemicals must be sited when remaining under the control of Customs (see Table 2 for the full, amended provision),. This amendment is intended to provide an exemption to the notification and assessment of a new chemical when the chemical remains under Customs control in a slightly broader range of situations.

 

Table 1 – current wording of Sn 21(6)(b) under the Act

 

21(6)(b) a new industrial chemical:
(i) that is introduced by a person at a port or airport in Australia; and
(ii) that remains subject to the control of Customs (within the meaning of the Customs Act 1901) at the port or airport at all times before leaving Australia; and
(iii) that leaves Australia less than 30 days after the day of introduction

 

Table 2 – proposed wording of Sn 21(6)(b) under the Act (redacted words highlighted by strike through)

 

21(6)(b) a new industrial chemical:
(i) that is introduced by a person at a port or airport in Australia; and
(ii) that remains subject to the control of Customs (within the meaning of the Customs Act 1901) at the port or airport at all times before leaving Australia; and
(iii) that leaves Australia less than 30 days after the day of introduction

 

NICNAS seeks views as to whether the proposed adjustment to the wording of Sn21(6)(b) correctly describes how chemicals are transhipped and are maintained under the control of Customs.

 

Please provide comments by COB Friday 02 March 2012 by:

  • Email to Dr Matthew Gredley, Head of Reform Program, NICNAS (matthew.gredley@nicnas.gov.au);
  • Fax to 02 8777 8888 (marked ATTN: Matt Gredley);
  • Mail to GPO Box 58, Sydney, NSW 2001 (marked ATTN Matt Gredley).

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