COAG Chemicals Consultancy

About chemical regulation

Chemicals and plastics regulation involves multiple agencies across all levels of government. There are three levels of government in Australia - Commonwealth, state/territory, and local - each with its own responsibilities, although in some cases these responsibilities overlap. In general, different agencies/levels of government are responsible for different aspects of the chemical lifecycle.

Chemicals and chemical products have their risks assessed in five broad categories at a national level, depending on their use in industrial, agricultural and veterinary, therapeutic, cosmetic or food applications. These different regulatory requirements are administered by various agencies. Currently the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS), the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) all perform some risk assessment for chemicals and there are complementary regulatory and administrative functions where synergies could be leveraged.

The consultancy

The 2008 Productivity Commission Research Report: Chemicals and Plastics Regulation (PC Report) found that the sector could benefit from greater national consistency in its regulation and a governance framework that enhances national uniformity. This report formed the basis of subsequent reform efforts.

In October 2014, COAG agreed to consider changes to the regulatory framework governing chemicals to improve its efficiency under its standing item on deregulation. The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, on behalf of COAG, appointed a consultant (Sironis Pty Ltd) to review Commonwealth chemicals assessment functions.

This project was overtaken by ongoing reforms within the chemical regulatory framework including those administered by NICNAS, APVMA and the development of a National Standard for Environmental Risk Management of Industrial Chemicals by the Department of the Environment and Energy. Therefore, in 2016 the review was concluded following the completion of a Comparative Analysis of APVMA and NICNAS processes for assessing new chemicals. The department has prepared a report drawing on the Comparative Analysis.


For more information or to request a copy of the concluding report (based on analysis from September 2016) please contact

For more information on the Portfolio’s Regulation Reform Agenda please contact

Further Information

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