Nicnas, Australia’s national chemical agency, has published the final General and Transitional Rules for the Industrial Chemicals Act, which will come into force on 1st July 2020. This Act, which will form a new framework of regulation of imported or manufactured industrial chemicals, was passed into law on 4th April 2019. Nicnas will be replaced by a new scheme – the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS).
These final rules address the following:-

  • Nanomaterials – the Rules set out the circumstances in which nanoscale chemicals can either be categorised as low risk (reported) or medium to high risk (assessed);
  • Polymers – Record keeping requirements for polymers introduced under the new and existing schemes have been clarified. Polymers that meet the ‘2% rule’ will be exempted introductions;
  • volume thresholds – Nicnas has increased some volume thresholds to align with others internationally; and
  • flavours – it has extended allowances for fragrances to flavours because there is often an overlap between the functions of these chemicals.

Nicnas has also extended the transition period for all chemicals to adhere to the new scheme from 12 months to two years.

It is possible for Companies to continue to secure low volume and control permits until at least 30 June 2022. The following exemptions will still be allowed until 31 August 2022:-

  • research and development or analysis – manufactured in a fixed apparatus in a specific location;
  • research and development or analysis – import only;
  • cosmetic use (no unreasonable risk);
  • cosmetic use (no unreasonable risk and non-hazardous chemical); and
  • non-cosmetic use (no unreasonable risk).