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What are the steps for processing an application?

The process​

The procedure for processing an application varies depending on the application type. For example, there are application types that are publicly notified (notified applications), applications that are not publicly notified and undergo standard assessment (non-notified applications) and applications that undergo rapid assessment.  See information about the statutory timelines for the different application pathways below.

Generally, the process is:

Contact from the applicant

The first contact with us is usually as an enquiry. We help determine if approval is required and which application should be used.

The pre-application period

The pre-application period begins when you confirm you will be submitting an application. Once completed, the draft application is sent to us for comment. The application is given an application number (APP200xxx) and assigned to an Advisor. While there is no obligation for you to proceed to the next stage, significant pre-application interactions may incur a charge (whether you proceed or not). This is on a case-by-case basis and we will inform you when such costs are likely.

Formal receipt of the application

An application is formally received once a completed signed hardcopy (and an electronic version) is submitted to us, the application fee has been paid.  The application will be placed on our website.

Public notification (for notified applications only)

This must occur within 10 working days of the formal receipt (unless a waiver has been received). We place notices on our website informing the public that the application has been received. We also notify individuals by email or letter who asked to be kept informed of such applications (through the interested parties list).  The public have 30 working days to lodge submissions about the application. 

Evaluation and review of the application

The Advisors evaluate and review the application and submissions (where relevant) in the form of a report or a draft decision with covering Agency Advice. The risks and benefits of the substance or organism and its proposed use are assessed in the report.  

Hearing (for notified applications only)

Where an application is publicly notified, a hearing may be held.  A hearing is where those people who provided a written submission have the opportunity to present their submission in person if they wish. The Decision-making Committee uses the submissions to obtain further information that will assist with the final decision.

Consideration by the Decision-making Committee or the Decision-maker

The Decision-making Committee (or the Decision-maker) meets to consider the application and decide whether to approve, not approve, or decline the application, or whether more information is required before a decision can be made.

Notify the applicant

Once a decision is made, the applicant is told the decision and a copy of the decision document is placed on our website.   

Statutory time requirements

The following diagrams outline the statutory time requirements for the notified, non-notified and rapid assessment applications:

Please note that certain types of applications (e.g. determining an organism as new or not) do not have statutory time requirements.

Seeking time or information waivers

Waivers from timeframes or information requirements under the HSNO Act can be requested by the parties involved in an application (e.g. the applicant or submitters). Waivers are also, in some cases, initiated by the EPA.

How to request a waiver

Contact the EPA's Application Lead for the application (if known) or use the contact details on the Contact Us page. 

The waiver process

1. We'll seek consent for the waiver from the parties involved in the application

2. If all parties agree, we'll grant the waiver

3. If the parties do not agree, then we won't grant the waiver unless we are satisfied that the parties will not be unduly prejudiced by the waiver

4. If the waiver is granted, we'll notify the parties that the waiver has been granted and let them know about any changes to the application timeframes.

Please note that on occasion the EPA may decide to not seek consent - for example, if the waiver is minor in effect.

Requests for further information

Sometimes the EPA will request further information from an applicant or other sources before the application is publicly notified (for notified applications) or before the consideration date is set (for non-notified applications).

For publicly notified applications, the 'further information' will be made available on the application web page (located in the HSNO applications register) on this website at the time of public notification.

If the applicant doesn't provide the requested information within one year, their application will lapse.

Requests for further information from other sources

Sometimes after an application has been publicly notified or the consideration date set, the EPA will seek further information from sources other than the applicant.

We make further information of this type available on the application web page (located in the HSNO applications register) on this website at least 10 working days before the hearing or consideration.

The EPA has the power to postpone a hearing or consideration until further information of this type has been received - this is why time waivers are sometimes sought at the same time as further information requests.