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Thursday, 1 June 2017
Page: 6018

Dr GILLESPIE (LyneAssistant Minister for Health) (10:37): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

Today I am pleased to introduce the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Amendment Bill 2017 as part of a package of six bills that reform the regulation of industrial chemicals in Australia.

The Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989, or the ICNA Act, establishes a national system of notification and assessment of industrial chemicals and for registration of certain persons manufacturing or importing chemicals into Australia.

The bill that I am introducing makes important changes to the ICNA Act to enable early commencement of certain aspects of the coalition government's broader reforms to industrial chemicals regulation that would otherwise commence from 1 July 2018.

The amendments to the ICNA Act in this bill include:

making changes to the definition of certain low-risk industrial chemicals (new synthetic polymers) to more closely align with international approaches to regulation;

making changes to the notification requirements for introducers of certain new chemicals, such that polymers of low concern would be exempt from notification;

removing the requirement for introducers to provide annual reports to NICNAS for permits and self-assessed assessment certificates; and

removing the requirement for certain annual reporting requirements for introducers of certain industrial chemicals in a registration year.

Collectively, these changes reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens and provide a faster regulatory pathway for introduction to the Australian market for lower-risk chemicals whilst ensuring that we do not compromise the high standards for health and safety and protecting our environment.

These early reforms also set the stage for the wider package of reforms that will take effect from 1 July 2018, and are reflected in the Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017 and the related supporting bills.

This bill I introduce today contributes to the coalition government's commitment, to ensuring that the regulatory system provides an effective platform for the coming decades—one that is efficient, risk-based, proportionate, encourages innovation and ensures ongoing protections for Australian consumers, workers and the environment.

Debate adjourned.