The objective of the Standing Committee on Chemicals (the Committee) is to achieve an effective and efficient national system of chemicals and plastics regulation.
On 7 December 2009, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on chemicals and plastics, which established a new national governance framework to help achieve a streamlined and harmonised national regulatory system and ultimately reduce the regulatory burden on business. The Committee is part of the new governance framework. The Committee is responsible to COAG and has been reporting through the Business Regulation and Competition Working Group (BRCWG). After the term of the BRCWG ceases on 31 December 2012 the SCOC will continue to report to COAG and those reports will be published on these web pages.
These web pages aim to provide stakeholders with information and access to key documents relating to chemicals regulatory activities together with information on the outcomes from Committee meetings.
2012-2013 Work Plan
At its meeting on 25 July 2012, the Committee agreed to its 2012-2013 annual work plan [PDF 56KB] [DOC 130KB] and its revised five year work plan [PDF 148KB] [DOC 170KB]. The work plan will inform the work of the Committee over the next 12 months.
The eighth progress report [PDF 40KB] [DOCX 76KB] was prepared as at 8 March 2013 on the 30 PC reforms against implementation milestones under the enhanced reporting arrangements.
Previous progress reports are also available:
SCOC 2011 Status Review
- The Standing Committee on Chemicals Secretariat’s Review of Chemicals and Plastics Regulation Reform [PDF 229KB] [DOC 394KB] was provided to the BRCWG Secretariat on 30 November 2011. It included an analysis of the progress made to date in implementing the 30 PC recommended reforms and proposed several options to progress these reforms within the life of the Seamless National Economy National Partnership Agreement (SNE NP).
- At the 13 April 2012 COAG meeting COAG endorsed recommendations agreed by BRCWG informed by the Standing Committee on Chemicals Secretariat’s Review of Chemicals and Plastics Regulation Reform.
Implementation Plans for reforms
Implementation Plans for each area of reform were developed through COAG. The Implementation Plans for reforms that remain to be completed are available below:
- Standing Council on Environment and Water (December 2012) [PDF 47KB] [DOC 58KB]
- Standing Council on Health (August 2011 amended) [PDF 33KB] [DOC 89KB]
- National Government Advisory Group on chemical security (overseen by the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department) (December 2012) [PDF 48KB] [DOC 70KB]
- Standing Council on Primary Industries (December 2011) [PDF 43KB] [DOCX 35KB]
The Department of Health and Ageing developed an implementation plan which was endorsed by COAG [PDF 54KB] [DOC 78KB]The Department of Health and Ageing reforms are now being progressed as part of a Better Regulation Ministerial Partnership to review the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS). More information is available on the Department of Health and Ageing website.
Early Harvest Reforms (EHRs)
In 2008 COAG identified a package of 18 chemical and plastics reform measures for fast tracked implementation. The results of an audit of the status of the EHRs as at October 2012 was approved for public release by the SCOC at its 26 October 2012 meeting [PDF 95KB | DOCX 64.5KB].
Committee Members and Role
The Committee members include:
- Commonwealth official nominated by the Prime Minister, or the Prime Minister's nominated delegate, to chair the Committee
- one official from each of the following Commonwealth Government departments or their successor organisations:
- one official, nominated by the States and Territories, to represent each of the following standing councils:
The Committee’s role is to:
- co-ordinate the implementation of the new governance framework for the regulation of chemicals and plastics.
- monitor the timeliness, effectiveness and consistency of reforms of chemicals and plastics regulation.
- provide advice and make recommendations as appropriate to BRCWG, COAG and relevant ministerial councils on how chemicals and plastics policy initiatives that have cross-portfolio or cross-jurisdictional implications might be best progressed.
- provide an ongoing forum for assessing the consistency of chemicals-specific policy settings across the relevant policy areas, including: public health; workplace health and safety; transport safety; environment protection; and national security.
- oversee a coordinated national approach to regulatory reform of chemicals and plastics and the consistent application of chemical hazard and risk-assessment methodologies and international standards such as the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.
- support the coordinated development of regulatory proposals that have cross-portfolio implications, including the conduct of regulatory impact assessments.
The Secretariat to the Committee can be contacted via email email@example.com.