Australia moves to cut red tape on chemical risk assessments

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Australia moves to cut red tape on chemical risk assessments
As part of its measures to cut red tape and promote innovation, the Australian government is pushing for greater acceptance of international standards and risk assessments.

Following the announcement by prime minister Tony Abbott in October, ministers will write to regulators in their respective portfolios and work with stakeholder groups to develop criteria to assess the acceptance or adoption of “trusted standards and assessments”.

The Government will adopt a new principle that if a system, service or product has been approved under a trusted international standard or risk assessment, then regulators should not impose any additional requirements for approval in Australia, unless it can be demonstrated that there is a good reason to do so.

To date, businesses have had to undertake a regulatory approvals process to use or sell products in Australia that duplicates a process that has already occurred in other developed countries. This adds to costs and provides little or no additional protection.

This new principle will ultimately remove regulatory duplication, reduce costs and delays for businesses and consumers, increase the supply of products into the Australian market and allow regulatory authorities to focus on higher priorities.

Goal to move regulation in line with international standards

According to Australia’s hygiene, cosmetic and speciality products industry body, 'Accord Australasia'; until now, there has been very little policy recognition of just how much of a barrier Australian regulator reassessment of products, already in safe overseas use.

The Government will require the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) to increase its acceptance of international risk assessments of industrial chemicals made by reputable international regulatory authorities such as the European Union regulator.

Any changes will be subject to its' regulation impact statement processes and progress will be reported at the twice yearly repeal days and in the annual deregulation report.

These reforms build on the Government’s $700 million cut to red and green tape since coming to office including the removal of around 10,000 pieces of unnecessary legislation and regulations.

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