Chemical regulation in Australia

Learn more about our laws and responsibilities including links to other relevant agencies/departments

Many Australians are concerned about chemicals in products we use, because we know they can have an impact on our health and/or the environment.

Australian Government (Commonwealth) legislation governs the supply of chemicals in Australia, and importers or manufacturers of chemicals or chemical products must comply.

Legislation covers assessing and registering chemicals by national chemicals schemes and – to minimise duplication or unnecessary regulatory burdens on industry –the schemes complement each other. They cover:

  • Industrial chemicals, including chemicals used domestically
  • Agricultural and veterinary chemicals
  • Medicines and pharmaceuticals
  • Chemicals used in (or with) food, including additives, contaminants and natural toxicants.

In addition, several chemicals regulation frameworks support chemicals management:

  • Poisons scheduling – protecting public health
  • Maintaining safety in the workplace
  • Transporting of dangerous goods
  • Managing chemicals in the environment
  • Chemicals of security concern
  • Illicit drugs precursor chemicals.

Other entities which also play a role include:

  • Agencies which oversee competition, fair trading and consumer protection laws
  • The Departments of Defence and of Foreign Affairs which are also concerned with chemicals of security concern and precursor chemicals

Learn more about our laws and responsibilities including links to other relevant agencies/departments

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Last update 29 July 2018