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Our approach to compliance and who we regulate

Our range of resources and educational activities will help you understand and comply with your obligations. Explore this website, including these guides and tools. You can also call or email us with your questions and ask for a face-to-face meeting. Other awareness raising measures include training events and stakeholder newsletters and targeted emails.

The regulated community – who we regulate

The IC Act places obligations on:

  • importers and manufacturers (introducers) of industrial chemicals for commercial purposes
  • exporters of certain industrial chemicals subject to the Rotterdam Convention.

Who we don’t regulate

We don’t regulate:

  • other types of chemicals used in Australia, such as therapeutic goods, pesticides, veterinary medicines or the ingredients in food
  • those businesses involved only in blending or formulating chemical products using locally sourced chemical ingredients

Working out your obligations

The general guidance about the IC Act on this site sets out:

  • the compliance obligations of all introducers (importers and manufacturers)
  • how we administer the Act
  • our formal compliance powers

It is not possible to provide detailed guidance tailored to each regulated entity’s specific circumstances.  We encourage all introducers of industrial chemicals to seek their own independent legal advice to determine their obligations under the IC Act.

Take a look at our getting started: registration, importing, manufacturing page

The Regulatory Powers Act*

The IC Act triggers a number of provisions of the Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014 (the Regulatory Powers Act), aligning the monitoring and enforcement powers of AICIS with those of other Commonwealth regulators.

The Regulatory Powers Act provides for a standard suite of provisions in relation to monitoring and investigation powers, as well as enforcement provisions through the use of civil penalties, infringement notices, enforceable undertakings and injunctions.

The standard provisions of the Regulatory Powers Act are an accepted baseline of powers required for an effective monitoring, investigation or enforcement regulatory regime, while providing adequate safeguards and protecting important common law privileges. 

*Text on this page about the Regulatory Powers Act is taken directly from the Attorney General’s Department website.

Compliance activities

Graduated application of compliance tools

Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for people to meet their compliance obligations. We use a range of tools and principles to achieve this.

Consistent with other Commonwealth regulators, we use legislated and non-legislated options for promoting compliance and addressing non-compliance with the IC Act. These options range from providing information so that regulated entities understand our time frames, processes and how they need to meet their obligations under the IC Act. This includes emphasising the cost of not meeting obligations, such as our power to enact the various sanctions available under the Regulatory Powers Act to punish serious non-compliance.

Many Commonwealth regulators provide representations of the “Braithwaite Pyramid” (Ayres and Braithwaite (1992) “Responsive Regulation: Transcending the deregulation debate”. New York: Oxford University Press) to illustrate these options.  Examples include Biosecurity, ATO, and ACMA.

Our compliance model

Business behaviour and attitude to compliance

The model AICIS uses and the levels of risk and non compliance explained as content on the page as well

As illustrated in this diagram, risk to human health and environment increases as non-compliance increases.

Below, we explain each level of compliance and our approach in each instance.

Voluntary compliance

This is where businesses:

  • are committed to doing the right thing
  • have systems and procedures in place to ensure compliance
  • ensure legislative compliance is prominent in their organisation’s culture

Our approach to voluntary compliance is through education and raising awareness about compliance obligations.

We do this by:

  • publishing clear information on our website about timeframes, processes and how to meet obligations under the IC Act
  • holding information sessions
  • inquiry management

Inadvertent non-compliance

This is where businesses:

  • may not be aware of obligations
  • aim to be compliant but their business processes may lead to inadvertent non- compliance
  • have systems and procedures in place but they are immature or deficient
  • compliance management exists but is in isolated from other functions

Our approach to inadvertent non-compliance is to provide specific advice and information. We do this by: 

  • providing additional guidance
  • negotiating compliance 
  • monitoring specific issues

Opportunistic non-compliance 

This is where businesses:

  • may disregard compliance based on risk of detection
  • have minimal or no compliance system
  • will comply in response to warning

Our approach to opportunistic non-compliance is one of correction and deterrence. We do this by:

  • warning of possible enforcement
  • enforceable undertaking 
  • regular monitoring

Serious non-compliance 

This is where businesses:

  • have no compliance system
  • are repeatedly non-compliant
  • choose to divert resources into avoiding or delaying compliance rather than actual compliance
  • disregard our warnings

Our approach to serious non-compliance is enforcement action. We have a range of enforcement powers depending on the situation which include:

  • using our formal investigative powers
  • issuing infringement notices
  • injunctions
  • prosecution
  • seizure of goods 
  • cancellation of registration
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