Submissions to the 2012 Review of the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme - Australian Paint Manufacturers' Federation Inc.

The Discussion Paper: Review of the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS)–June 2012was released on 1 June 2012. Submissions were received betweeen 1 June and 27 July 2012. The comments received from this consultation process will be used to inform the government of stakeholder views.

Page last updated: 20 September 2012

PDF printable version of Australian Paint Manufacturers' Federation Inc submission (PDF 144 KB)

Australian Paint Manufacturers' Federation Inc.
Richard Phillips
Executive Director
Suite 604, Level 6, 41 Rawson Street
EPPING NSW 2121

02 9876 1411
02 9876 1433
0409 986 113

Summary

The Australian Paint Manufacturers’ Federation Inc (APMF) is the peak national body representing the surface coatings industry in Australia. APMF members include paint manufacturers, importers, supply chain partners, raw material suppliers and service providers to the sector.

The APMF supports the objectives of this Review, namely how regulatory settings may be improved to enhance both the competitiveness of the Australian surface coatings industry and public health and environmental outcomes.

Without an efficient and competitive regulatory system, Australia is at a disadvantage due to its relative size, compared with the rest of the world. (Australia represents approximately 0.6% of global sales of chemicals and about 0.85% of the global trade in chemicals [Source: PACIA].)

Reforms are needed to ensure the future competitiveness and ongoing viability of the surface coatings industry in Australia.

Part 4—The regulatory framework for industrial chemicals (options A1–A3)

Option A1—A detailed industrial chemicals risk assessment and management manual be developed. The manual would:

Our members would like to see a single document produced that gave an easy to understand overview of “how chemicals in Australia are regulated”. This should give an explanation of the jurisdiction of the different regulatory bodies (NICNAS, APVMA, SUSMP, etc) and the regulations (labelling, transport, storage, disposal, etc).

Part 5—New industrial chemicals (options B1–B6)

Option B1—In relation to all notification and assessment categories (for exemptions, permits and certificates):

We support reducing the number of notification and assessment categories and a review of the current volume thresholds, data requirements and applicability criteria to harmonise with overseas arrangements, where possible.

Option B2—In relation specifically to exemptions:

We agree with extending the <1% concentration exemption for non-hazardous chemicals in products.

Option B3—In relation to permits and assessment certificates:

Currently, NICNAS cannot compel applicants to provide further information if the application is considered deficient. Subsequently if additional information is not provided voluntarily, NICNAS cannot reject the application and must continue the assessment based on the available data. Incomplete applications apply pressure to the achievement of statutory assessment timeframes.

The APMF, therefore, supports the introduction of a pre-assessment statutory screening process, with timeframes, to enable NICNAS to refuse an application if it does not include all the necessary information.

Option B4—In addition, in relation specifically to assessment certificates:

The APMF supports the first point regarding streamlining the assessment process, so that low risk chemicals are “dropped” from further assessment, with the focus on higher risk chemicals.

Option B5—In relation to AICS:
Option B6—Legislative changes:

With regard to Options B5 and B6, no specific comments.

Part 6—Existing industrial chemicals (options C1–C6)

Amend the ICNA Act to:
Option C1—Maintain the existing assessment process for PECs but remove unnecessary detail:
Option C2—Introduce a new legislative assessment for non-PECs:

The APMF supports Options C1 and C2.

Option C3—Broaden the mandatory information-gathering powers to enable NICNAS to better undertake risk assessment activities and to adequately manage AICS:

No specific comment.

Option C4—Remove the general power for NICNAS to impose conditions of use on chemicals after a chemical has been entered on AICS:

No specific comment.

Option C5—Establish a new Part on AICS for chemicals that are no longer being introduced into Australia:

The APMF strongly disagrees with this Option. The passing of time is not a valid criteria for removing a chemical from AICS. Equally important, when introducing a new product, a manufacturer or distributor will obtain advice from the exporting entity to confirm that the AICS database on-line has been checked and that all chemicals in their formulation are on the AICS.

If chemicals were to be withdrawn at a later date, as proposed by this option, industry may not be in a position to know that a previously listed confidential ingredient had now been withdrawn.

Option C6—Ensure that, if the legislative changes detailed above are progressed, that all necessary consequential changes are made to the legislation:

No specific comment.

Part 7—Post market monitoring and enforcement (Options D1–D3)

No specific comments for D1, D2 and D3.

Part 8—Other reforms—release of information and confidential commercial information (Options E1–E2)

No specific comments for E1 and E2.

Part 8—Other reforms—use of foreign schemes/ international assessments (Options F1–F2)

Our members support the use of assessment outcomes from recognised overseas chemicals regulators as a key source of efficiency in the new and existing chemicals assessment process and as a genuine mechanism to provide regulatory relief to business. Utilising credible international assessment decisions would reduce costs and regulatory burden on business in introducing new chemicals into Australia, increase innovation and growth in the Australian chemicals industry, result in consumers having access to safer and better quality chemicals and make the best use of finite NICNAS resources.

To address community concerns over indiscriminately accepting international assessment outcomes from overseas regulators, the APMF supports the recommendations contained in the Protiviti Final Report, dated 9 January 2012, “Efficiency and Effectiveness Review of NICNAS”, as follows.

Consideration may be given to:
  • Defining a clear policy position on the use of international chemical assessment outcomes by NICNAS in assessing new and existing chemicals. This should be accompanied by a comprehensive NICNAS communications strategy for announcing the position to industry and community stakeholders.
  • Performing a benchmarking exercise of the regulatory environments of major regulatory systems, such as the United States, European Union and Canada, to determine the extent of any divergence in regulatory scope and controls and inform future policy direction in the use of international regulatory outcomes.
  • Requesting NICNAS prioritise the expansion of approved foreign schemes under the ICNA Act to include other key international regulators to better leverage the use of international chemical assessments in the new chemicals assessment process.

Part 8—Other reforms—chemicals in articles (Options G1-G2)

Option G1—Clarify the role of NICNAS in relation to chemicals in articles as part of the development of the industrial chemicals risk assessment and management manual (Option A1) and through the re-negotiation of MOUs where necessary (Option A3):

See comments Option A1.

Option G2—Amend the ICNA Act to clarify the role of NICNAS in the assessment of chemicals in articles, particularly imported articles:

No specific comment.

Part 8—Other reforms—Chemicals in cosmetics (Option H1–H2)

N/A

Part 8—Other reforms—Import and export of chemicals under the Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions (Option I1–I2)

Option I1—Remove regulations relating to the import and export of Stockholm and Rotterdam Convention chemicals from the ICNA legislation, once appropriate alternative legislation has been enacted:

The APMF agrees that the responsibility for implementation of the Rotterdam Convention should now be removed from NICNAS. We also note that the Protiviti Report 2012, page 18, made the following comment:

“Administration of the Rotterdam Convention—NICNAS currently manages Australia’s responsibilities under the Rotterdam Convention with regard to industrial chemicals. The Review notes that transferring responsibility for administering the Rotterdam Convention to DSEWPaC would better leverage the Department’s policy role in regards to the Convention, while allowing NICNAS to divert additional resources to statutory chemical risk assessment activities. This approach is consistent with the recommendation 4.3 of the PC Report.”

Option I2—Retain regulations for the import and export of Stockholm and Rotterdam Convention chemicals under the ICNA Act:

See comments Option I1.

Part 8—Other reforms—Governance—Committees (Option J1)

Option J1—Once the preferred reform options have been identified, consider the most appropriate role and membership of committees to best support the Director of NICNAS:

Supported

Part 8—Other reforms—Governance—Relationship with the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) (Option K1)

Option K1—DoHA work with NICNAS to clarify roles and responsibilities and address any administrative and resource inefficiencies:

Supported

A full list of all 2012 submissions can be viewed at June 2012 submissions to the review of NICNAS.