As part of our ongoing efforts to harmonise international standards and risk assessment methods (where applicable in the Australian context) and to establish international best practice approaches, we regularly engage with our international counterparts.
We participate in various bilateral and multilateral technical forums, committees and working groups. Our technical experts also communicate directly with their peers overseas.
We operate under the Australian Government principle "that if a service or product has been approved under a trusted international standard or risk assessment, then our regulators should not impose any additional requirements for approval in Australia, unless it can be demonstrated that there is a good reason to do so." In doing so, we apply the criteria for the adoption of international standards and risk assessments by Health portfolio regulators, set by the Minister for Health.
Our international collaboration enhances regulatory efficiency and effectiveness as it allows us to:
- share experiences and resources
- save regulatory effort by avoiding unnecessary duplication of assessment activities
- optimise our resources and reduce costs.
Our international engagement also:
- helps us to gain access to international scientific expertise, assessment tools, standards and risk assessment materials
- allows us to better understand chemical assessment methods and approaches used by comparable regulatory authorities
- promotes an internationally consistent approach to chemical regulation through the harmonisation of data requirements for assessments, where appropriate
- facilitates acceptance of assessments from overseas jurisdictions where comparable assessment standards can be demonstrated
- supports collaboration on emerging issues of international concern
- contributes to scientifically robust and internationally endorsed assessments and standards
- strengthens relationships with strategic international partners such as regulatory agencies and technical experts
We attend a variety of multilateral technical forums under the auspices of:
- the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD)
- United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
- World Health Organisation (WHO)
- Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Conventions / Agreements
Australia is a signatory on the following conventions and agreements:
- Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent - a multilateral environment agreement which provides obligations on the import and export of certain hazardous chemicals.
- Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants - an international treaty targeting chemicals that threaten humans and the environment by their persistence in ecosystems around the world and accumulation in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife.
- Minamata Convention on Mercury - a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury.
- Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) - a UN policy framework to promote chemical safety around the world.
We have bilateral arrangements with countries or regions that have active and successful regulatory regimes and objectives comparable to NICNAS. These include:
- European Union (European Chemicals Agency, ECHA). Download the NICNAS/ECHA 2019-20 Rolling Work Plan [Word 211 KB]
- Canada (Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada)
- United States (Environmental Protection Agency, US EPA)
- New Zealand (Environmental Protection Authority, NZ EPA)
- The Republic of Korea (National Institute of Food and Drug Safety Evaluation, NIFDS)
Last update 9 October 2019