Australia has replaced the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) with the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS) as the new national regulator for the import and manufacture of industrial chemicals in the country effective July 1st.
The National Industrial Chemical Notification and Assessment Scheme has held this responsibility since 1989, which ended on June 30, 2020.
The AICIS will take a ‘risk-proportionate’ approach to chemicals regulation and not conduct assessments on substances it considers low or medium risk, before they are introduced to the market. The new regulator says it hopes this will encourage companies to move away from ‘high-risk’ substances, on which it will focus its assessment efforts.
Overview of AICIS
Anyone who imports or manufactures (introduce) industrial chemicals – or products that release industrial chemicals – into Australia for commercial purposes must:
- register their business and pay a fee
- categorise each chemical importation or manufacture (introduction) into one of five categories
An ‘introduction’ refers to the industrial chemical and the specific circumstance of each importation or manufacture. This includes a range of factors including:
- whether the chemical will be imported, manufactured locally or imported for reformulation in Australia
- quantity of chemical being imported or manufactured
- the concentration of the chemical
- how the chemical will be used and whether it will be accessible to workers or the general public
- how the chemical will be disposed into the environment
You must register your business in any given registration year before you import or manufacture (introduce) an industrial chemical. Our registration year is from 1 September to 31 August.
If you have a current commercial evaluation (or CEC) permit from NICNAS, it will transition into the newly created category of ‘commercial evaluation authorisation’ under AICIS. Its terms and conditions will stay the same and will last as long as your NICNAS permit was going to be in force.
All other NICNAS permits in force on 30 June 2020 will automatically become AICIS assessment certificates on 1 July 2020. They will have the same terms and conditions as under NICNAS. These certificates will be of a limited duration – either the time left on the original permit, or until 30 June 2022, whichever is the later date. This means you’ll have at least two years to re-categorise your introduction to ensure continued compliance with the new scheme once the transitioned certificate expires.