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Australian business on front line protecting chemicals from terrorists



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THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP Attorney-General Minister for Emergency Management

MEDIA RELEASE

16 January 2013 AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS ON FRONT LINE PROTECTING CHEMICALS FROM TERRORISTS

The Australian Government has invited business to join the fight against terrorism by commenting on a national code of practice designed to protect chemicals from being used for terrorist attacks.

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon explained that 96 commonly available chemicals have been identified as being of security concern, with 11 of particular concern and the potential to be used to make improvised explosive devices.

“In the right hands, chemicals are useful. In the wrong hands they can be lethal,” Ms Roxon said.

“The Government does not want these chemicals falling into the wrong hands, and Australian businesses play a critical role in achieving this.

“Managing security, after all, is a fundamental part of good business practice.”

The draft code has been developed following consultation with businesses across the supply chain including importers, producers, users, retailers and those that transport chemicals.

The draft code encourages businesses to self-assess their individual level of risk and suggests actions to prevent the theft or diversion of chemicals from the workplace. These include steps such as making improvements to site security, and other options like employee and contractor checking and inventory controls.

“This voluntary code will provide business with the information they need to secure their chemicals from misuse without imposing unnecessary red tape,” Ms Roxon said.

“I’m calling on all small businesses, industry and the community to let us know what they think so we can ensure the draft code is workable and sensible.

“This is another example of the Gillard Government continually reassessing national security risks and working to make the community safer. While our nation remains one of the safest in the world, we must be ever vigilant.”

All Australian businesses which manufacture, handle or use potentially dangerous chemicals are encouraged to contribute to the development of the code.

The draft code is available for comment on the chemical security website at www.chemicalsecurity.gov.au. The consultation closes 1 March 2013.

Australians are encouraged to report the suspicious use of chemicals to the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.

For all media enquiries, please contact the Attorney-General’s Office on 02 6277 7300 or 0409 945 476

CHEMICALS OF SECURITY CONCERN

Chemical Percentage/Form Typical uses in Australia

Ammonium perchlorate Ammonium perchlorate at a concentration of 65% or

above, and

Ammonium perchlorate where it is in pure aqueous solution and the ammonium perchlorate is at a concentration of 10% or above.

Used in industry sectors such as fireworks and explosives, rocketry, and as a laboratory and diagnostic reagent

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide in aqueous solutions at any concentration, and

Hydrogen peroxide where it is a mixture with one or more other chemical/s (not counting water) and the hydrogen peroxide is at a concentration of 15% or above.

Widely used in diverse industry sectors such as paper and pulp bleaching, laundry, food and beverage, dairy, hair and beauty, mining, pool and spa, pharmaceuticals, water treatment, cleaning

Nitric acid Nitric acid at a

concentration of 30% or above.

Widely used in diverse industry sectors such as mining, food and dairy, food and beverage, metal processing and treatment, chemical processing and supply

Nitromethane Nitromethane where it is at a concentration of 10% or above

Widely used in industry sectors such as pharmaceuticals, analytical laboratories, as a racing fuel in high performance racing and in hobby shops as a fuel component in radio-controlled models

Chemical Percentage/Form Typical uses in Australia

Potassium chlorate

Potassium chlorate at a concentration of 65% or above, and

Potassium chlorate where it is in pure aqueous solution and the potassium chlorate is at a concentration of 10% or above.

Used in industry sectors such as fireworks and explosives, and as a laboratory and diagnostic reagent

Potassium nitrate

Potassium nitrate at a concentration of 65% or above, and

Potassium nitrate where it is in pure aqueous solution and the potassium nitrate is at a concentration of 10% or above.

A number of industry uses including fertilisers, fireworks and rocketry, and also in food preservation

Potassium perchlorate

Potassium perchlorate at a concentration of 65% or above, and

Potassium perchlorate where it is in pure aqueous solution and the potassium perchlorate is at a concentration of 10% or above.

Used in industry sectors such as fireworks and explosives, smelting and as a laboratory and diagnostic reagent

Sodium azide Sodium azide at a concentration of 95% or above.

Used in industry sectors such as smelting, as a biocide in hospitals and laboratories and in dairies

Chemical Percentage/Form Typical uses in Australia

Sodium chlorate

Sodium chlorate at a concentration of 65% or above, and

Sodium chlorate where it is in pure aqueous solution and the sodium chlorate is at a concentration of 10% or above.

Widely used in diverse industry sectors such as mining, metal treatment, paper production, as a food chemical, and as a laboratory and diagnostic reagent

Sodium nitrate Sodium nitrate at a concentration of 65% or above, and

Sodium nitrate where it is in pure aqueous solution and the sodium nitrate is at a concentration of 10% or above.

Has a variety of industry uses including as an ingredient in fertilisers, pyrotechnics, as a food preservative and as a solid rocket propellant

Sodium perchlorate

Sodium perchlorate at a concentration of 65% or above, and

Sodium perchlorate where it is in pure aqueous solution and the sodium perchlorate is at a concentration of 10% or above.

Used in industry sectors such as mining and smelting, and as a laboratory and diagnostic reagent