Skip to main content

Check out our improved 'Basics of importing and manufacturing chemicals' page with step-by-step instructions and an example

Who we are and what we do

We help protect the health of Australians and our environment by finding out the risks of industrial chemicals and recommending ways to promote their safer use.

Our scheme

The Industrial Chemicals Act 2019 establishes the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS) to regulate the importation and manufacture (introduction) of industrial chemicals in Australia.

AICIS replaced the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) on 1 July 2020.

We regulate chemicals (including polymers) introduced for an industrial use, such as in inks, paints, adhesives, solvents, cosmetics and personal care products, cleaning products, as well as in manufacturing, construction and mining applications.

Chemical regulation in Australia

In Australia, chemicals are regulated under both state/territory and national laws.

At the national level, chemicals are regulated according to their use. There are 4 main regulatory authorities for chemicals - each focusing on a particular type of use. If your chemical has multiple uses, you must follow the requirements of each applicable Australian Government and State or Territory regulatory body.

Chemical regulation

We define industrial use by exclusion. This means that an industrial use is any use that isn’t:

  • an agricultural chemical product – as defined by the AgVet Code
  • a veterinary chemical product - as defined by the AgVet Code
  • use as a substance or mixture of substances prepared by a pharmacist or veterinary surgeon, or in the preparation of these – as defined by paragraph 5(4)(a) of the AgVet Code
  • a therapeutic good – as defined by the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 or 
  • use as food for humans or animals, or in the preparation of it.

An important note about use is that a chemical can have multiple types of uses. For each use your chemical has, you need to follow the regulations for each responsible regulator. 

What we do

To promote the safe use of industrial chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment, we:

  • conduct scientific risk assessments on the introduction and intended use of industrial chemicals in Australia, and we publish our findings
  • maintain the Australian Inventory of Industrial Chemicals (the Inventory)
  • issue certificates and authorisations for the introduction of industrial chemicals in Australia
  • make risk management recommendations to protect human health and the environment for consideration by other state, territory or Australian Government agencies under their legislation, regulations and standards
  • set and maintain the Industrial Chemicals Categorisation Guidelines
  • maintain the Register of Industrial Chemical Introducers
  • monitor compliance and investigate any breaches of our laws
  • collect statistics on the use of industrial chemicals in Australia
  • assist Australia to meet its obligations under international agreements regarding industrial chemicals
  • collaborate with other regulatory authorities involved in chemical regulation in Australia
  • work with other countries to harmonise and adopt (where applicable in the Australian context) international standards and risk assessment methods

What we don’t do

We don’t:

  • register products
  • provide certificates of free sale, export certificates, certificates of origin, or any other product certification
  • provide general consumer advice on cosmetics or other products
  • provide or approve safety data sheets
  • regulate the use, storage, disposal, labelling or packaging of industrial chemicals and products containing industrial chemicals
  • manage chemical accidents or site remediation

State and territory authorities regulate and enforce appropriate chemical use, storage and disposal.

Please contact these other agencies or organisations who can expertly answer your questions about these topics.

Area/topic

More information

Asbestos

Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency

Australian Border Force

Chemicals of a security concern

Australian National Security

Chemicals used in food Food Standards Australia and New Zealand
Chemicals used in medicine, therapeutic goods or classified as poisons Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)
Chemicals used in animals and agriculture Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)

Defence

Department of Defence

Emergency response to accidents involving toxic substances Triple Zero

Environment

Department of the Agriculture, Water and the Environment

Fair trading and consumer protection

Labelling and safety concerns about chemicals used in consumer products

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

ACCC's mandatory standard for cosmetic ingredient labelling

Hazardous waste and managing chemicals in the environment Department of the Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Importing goods for personal use Australian Border Force – Importing by post or mail

Imports–prohibited and restricted

Australian Border Force

Precursor chemicals–illicit drugs

Australian Border Force

Poisons

The Therapeutic Goods Administration's Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons

Transporting dangerous goods (explosives, flammable liquids, gases, corrosives and chemically reactive or highly toxic substances)

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

National Transport Commission (NTC)

Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)

NTC Australian Dangerous Goods Code

Workplace safety

Safe Work Australia's Hazardous Chemical Information System

Model Code of Practice for managing the Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace

How we work

We assess the risks of industrial chemicals to human health and the environment by scientifically interpreting information about chemicals provided by industry (or obtained from other sources) in the context of the intended use of the chemical. You can read the principles covering how and why we assess risk. 

The full cost of administering AICIS is recovered through fees and charges paid by importers and manufacturers (introducers) of industrial chemicals. Read about how we recover costs.

Our structure

The Executive Director of AICIS is an independent statutory office-holder appointed by the Governor-General with specific powers and functions under the Industrial Chemicals Act 2019. The current Acting Executive Director is Dr Roshini Jayewardene.

The Executive Director is assisted by staff in the Office of Chemical Safety in the Australian Government Department of Health, who administer the scheme and undertake the human health risk assessments. Staff in the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment undertake the environmental risk assessments under AICIS.

View the Department of Health organisational chart.

Letters from the Minister and Executive Director – Statement of Expectations

Was this page helpful?
For broken links or technical issues, please provide as much detail as possible. Do not include your name, email address and other personal or commercially sensitive information.

Keep informed with updates