Following the approval of three bills in February, the remaining bills for the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS) passed through the Senate on April 2 and received Royal Assent on April 3. Thus far, all bills relating to the new scheme have become law.
For the transition from the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) to AICIS, see the timeline below.
Though, according to the adjusted schedule, the AICIS will commence on July 1, 2020, some regulatory changes have been in effect under the current scheme. These changes can reduce regulatory burden for introducers of some chemicals with lower risks, such as polymers of low concern (PLCs). They include:
- No more annual reporting for permit holders and self-assessed assessment certificate holders
- Shorter time frames for Approved Foreign Scheme assessments
- PLCs are exempt from notification
- Expansion of the PLC criteria
- Changes to the definition of a new synthetic polymer
- No more Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and labels required for cosmetics introduced at low volumes
The NICNAS has specified details of these changes , in a bid to facilitate industry compliance. Meanwhile, proposed changes to NICNAS are currently undergoing consultation . It should be noted that the consultation is related to certain provisions which are either new or entail significant changes from the earlier exposure draft as a result of the passage of relevant bills, rather than a further exposure draft of all the General Rules.
Feedback is requested on amendments contained in the Industrial Chemicals Act 2019 which involves new requirements for introducers: they will need to make a one-off declaration for exempted introductions at the end of the registration year in which the introduction first occurs.
Moreover, the NICNAS is seeking to explore how the General Rules could limit the use of new animal test data for introductions where the chemical has multiple end uses, including in cosmetics.