Australia's Industrial Chemicals Law Delayed Until 2020

The Government of Australia recently announced that the introduction of its Industrial Chemicals Law will be pushed back by one year. This latest delay marks the third in a series of postponements for the law. Most recently scheduled for introduction on July 1, 2019, it has now been delayed until July 1, 2020.

To this point, the principal cause of the postponement has been an ongoing delay in discussions within the Australian Senate. Negotiations on the issue have not yet taken place, largely as a result of the Government’s busy parliamentary schedule. Despite the previous delays, Senate discussions on the issue are anticipated within the first several months of 2019.

Replacing NICNAS with AICIS

As a major outcome of the Industrial Chemicals Law, the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) will effectively be replaced with the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS).

AICIS represents a new system for the regulation of industrial chemical introduction in Australia. Among other things, it establishes the Australian Inventory of Industrial Chemicals (AIIC) (which, in turn, will replace the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS)).

Several important requirements are associated with this replacement:

  • Individuals or entities that introduce industrial chemicals into Australia (either by importing or manufacturing them) are required to register their businesses with the Register of Industrial Chemical Introducers.
  • Individuals or entities that introduce industrial chemicals into Australia (either by importing or manufacturing them) need to ensure there is compliance with category-specific introduction requirements.
    • Introductions posing a higher risk to the environment and health require assessment that is certified by regulatory authorities.
    • Introductions posing a lower risk to the environment and health generally can be done without assessment.
      • Certain additional substances will be exempt from requiring assessment and authorization. These include naturally-occurring chemicals, incidentally-introduced chemicals, as well as non-isolated intermediates.

A Look Forward

Australia's Industrial Chemicals Law represents a major development for the chemicals industry there. While most individuals remain hopeful that there will be no further postponement in its introduction, this will ultimately depend on many of the same factors that have prompted delays thus far. When fully introduced, however, it will have a significant impact on any professional involved with industrial chemicals in Australia.

Additional information regarding this issue may be found on the Australian Government website as it becomes available. Also, be sure to check the ToxPlanet blog regularly for information on new developments.