What are the main changes to how I can introduce an industrial chemical into Australia?
There will also be a new process that involves an introducer categorising the risk level of their introduction. You’ll still need to register with us. The types of authorised introduction of an industrial chemical will be as follows. The following information is a summary only. We'll have more guidance for you on all these topics as we head towards the new scheme.
- Listed introductions – for chemicals already on the Inventory. This category is the same as under NICNAS where you need to search the Inventory for your chemical. If you find it, you'll need to check you can meet any terms we set out for its introduction. Like now, if you can meet the terms (which may include a defined scope of assessment* or conditions about the introduction or use**), you can start to introduce it. If you can’t meet the defined scope of assessment you'll have the option to see if you can introduce as an exempted or reported introduction. If you can meet 1 of these categories, you'll be able to introduce this way. If you can't meet these categories, you'll have to apply to us to vary the inventory. If you can’t meet a condition you will need to apply to us to vary the inventory listing.
- Exempted introductions – where your introduction of a chemical is very low risk. You'll need to keep records about the chemical and its use. You’ll also need to submit a once-off declaration to AICIS if you introduce any of the following:
- polymers of low concern
- low-concern biopolymers
- chemicals that the introducer has categorised as very low risk for human health and the environment
- Reported introductions – where your introduction of a chemical is low risk. Before you can introduce, you’ll have to submit a report to AICIS with information about the chemical and its use. You’ll also need to keep records about the chemical and its use.
- Assessed introductions – where your introduction of a chemical is medium to high risk. You'll need to apply to us to assess the risk and give us information about the chemical and its use. As we do now, we’ll issue an assessment certificate for the introduction. At the same time, we publish an Assessment Statement on the website which details the risks of introducing and using the chemical and includes our recommendations on how any risks should be managed. You'll also need to keep records about the chemical and its use after the certificate is issued. After 5 years your chemical will be listed on the Inventory.
- Commercial evaluation authorisations – these are time limited authorisations that we can grant so an introducer can determine a chemical's commercial potential. We'll publish details on our website about these authorisations including how long it's in force for.
- Exceptional circumstances authorisations rely on special authorisation. The Minister grants these if they are satisfied the introduction is necessary in the public interest to manage significant human health or environment risks. For example, an industrial chemical that would normally be unauthorised for introduction could be introduced to treat an oil spill threatening an Australian waterway.
*Defined scope of assessment: A defined scope of assessment is something you may find in an Inventory listing for a chemical. It describes the parameters of how we've previously assessed a chemical. If your chemical is listed with a defined scope of assessment, you must compare your introduction to check and make sure you’re covered.
**Condition of introduction or use**: This is a restriction(s) we can add to the Inventory listing of a chemical. The listing will describe restrictions we've imposed on the import or manufacture of a particular chemical. Restrictions we place on the chemical will usually relate to:
- how much (volume) you can introduce (import/manufacture) and
- where (site) the chemical is to be introduced or used
If your chemical is listed with a condition of introduction or use, you'll need to check and compare your introduction against the Inventory listing to make sure you are covered.
Last update 20 November 2019