The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) is a statutory scheme administered by the Australian Government Department of Health. NICNAS was established in July 1990 under the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 (ICNA Act).
A range of state, territory and Commonwealth government agencies share regulatory responsibility for chemical safety in Australia, with each chemical being regulated according to its use, whether as a therapeutic good (e.g. medicine), veterinary medicine, pesticide, food additive or industrial chemical (which includes any chemical with a use not falling into one of the other categories).
Industrial chemicals include chemicals used in solvents, adhesives, plastics, paints, inks, fuels, or laboratory reagents, as well as in refrigeration, cosmetics and household cleaning.
NICNAS aids in the protection of the Australian people and the environment by assessing the risks of industrial chemicals and providing information to promote their safe use.
- Assessing industrial chemicals for human health and/or environmental impacts.
- Registering introducers of industrial chemicals.
- Maintaining the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS).
- Providing information on the human health and environmental impacts of industrial chemicals and making recommendations on their safe use.
- NICNAS collates and analyses information about the introduction of chemicals, audits companies for compliance with obligations under the Act, and undertakes relevant enforcement action.
NICNAS also assists in ensuring that Australia meets its obligations under international agreements relating to industrial chemicals.
NICNAS priorities are detailed in the Portfolio Budget Statements.
NICNAS operates on a full cost recovery basis, with assessments of new chemicals charged on a fee for service basis, and all other activities funded by a levy (NICNAS Registration) on those who import or manufacture industrial chemicals in Australia. NICNAS finances are managed in accordance with the Department of Finance budget operating rules.
The NICNAS Director is a statutory office holder who has specific functions and powers under the Act and reports to the Assistant Minister for Health. Staff working on the scheme are employed by either the Department of Health or the Department of the Environment. Five program areas support the Scheme, with Principal Scientists playing an important leadership role in strengthening the scientific capability available to NICNAS.
NICNAS is required to publish a performance report under the Australian Government's Regulator Performance Framework (the Framework). Introduced in October 2014, the Framework provides a common set of performance measures for increased accountability and greater transparency in the way regulators perform their role. It comprises six outcomes-based key performance indicators (KPIs) to articulate the Government's overarching expectations of regulator performance.
NICNAS has developed a series of qualitative and quantitative outputs and evidence based metrics to demonstrate its performance against the six KPIs and associated measures. The Framework will apply from 1 July 2015, with the first reporting period being the 2015-16 financial year.
International standards and risk assessments
NICNAS applies the criteria for the adoption of international standards and risk assessments approved by the Minister for Health for use by Health portfolio regulators.
National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS)
GPO Box 58
Sydney NSW 2001
Telephone +61 2 8577 8800
Freecall 1800 638 528
Fax +61 2 8577 8888Back to top