Businesses will save an extra $23 million a year following a federal government move to simplify assessments of industrial chemicals while maintaining safety standards.
Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash said industrial chemicals were typically used in solvents, adhesives, plastics, paints, inks, fuels, or laboratory reagents, as well as in refrigeration, cosmetics and household cleaning.
“The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) will move to a more proportionate risk-based framework to assess industrial chemicals, including chemicals imported into Australia,” Ms Nash said.
“Simplifying this process is expected to save business around $23 million a year and benefit all sorts of companies – from cosmetics manufacturers to products making household cleaning products.
“The changes will spur increased competition and innovation in the sector.
“A faster, simpler assessment process could result in a broader range of products available on the Australian market across a range of industries from household cleaning to hardware stores.”
NICNAS will also consider information made available by reputable overseas regulatory agencies to help inform and streamline the local assessment process.
Ms Nash said the Department of Health would work with all stakeholders to draft the new assessment framework before legislation is submitted to Parliament.
“These changes mean low risk industrial chemicals will get to market faster, allowing companies to create new products as well as safer versions of existing products.”
Although the reforms will be fully implemented by September 1, 2018, the government would make an upfront investment of $7 million so the full costs of the reforms can be recovered from industry over a longer period.
The Australian industrial chemical sector employs around 60,000 people and contributes over $11 billion to Australia’s economy.