The application process

The procedure for processing a hazardous substance application varies depending on the application type. Read more about what these steps are.

1. Contact from the applicant

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

2. The pre-application period

The pre-application period begins when you confirm you will be submitting an application. Once completed, you send your draft application form and supporting information (in an appendix of confidential material, if necessary) to us for comment.

See our guide to hazardous substance risk assessment methods in the Related Content at the end of this page. It explains the approach that we take to evaluating the risks, cost and benefits of a new hazardous substance and the sort of information we need.

Your 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.

3. Formal receipt of the application

An application is formally received once a completed signed application form is submitted to us and the application fee has been paid. The application will be placed on our website.

4. Public notification (for notified applications only)

Public notification must occur within 10 working days of the formal receipt of the application, unless a waiver has been received.

We notify the public that the application has been received, via our website. People on our interested parties lists who have asked to be kept informed of such applications are also notified by email or letter.

The public have 30 working days to lodge submissions about the application.   

5. Evaluation and review of the application

The advisors evaluate and review the application and submissions, where relevant, and provide their assessment in the form of a report. The risks and benefits of the substance and its proposed use are also assessed.  

6. 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.

7. 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. A substance can only be approved if the positive effects (the benefits) outweigh the adverse effects (the risks and costs).

Our risk assessment model: Take a look at how we balance risks and benefits when evaluating applications (JPG, 229KB)

8. Applicant notification

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

Statutory timeframes Plus

Applications need to be processed within statutory timeframes, depending on the pathway they follow.

Rapid applications

These have a 10-working-day timeframe, from formal receipt to the application to when the application is decided. The applicant is then notified of the decision and it's published on our website.

Non-notified applications

These have a 30-working-day timeframe, from formal receipt to the application being under consideration.

Notified applications

These applications are more complicated, with statutory timeframes applying to several stages of the application. Overall, notified applications have a 70-working-day timeframe from formal receipt to the application being under consideration.

For more information please see the guidance below.

View the statutory timeline for a notified application (PDF, 706KB)

View the statutory timeline for a non-notified application (PDF, 355KB)

Seeking time or information waivers Plus

Information or timeframe requirement waivers under the HSNO Act can be requested by the parties involved in an application, such as the applicant or submitters. Waivers can also be initiated by us.

Request a waiver

Contact the Application Lead for the application, if known, or use the contact details on our Contact Information page.

The waiver process

  1. Consent for the waiver will be sought from the parties involved in the application.
  2. If all parties agree, the waiver will be granted.
  3. If the parties do not agree, then the waiver will not be granted unless we are satisfied that the parties will not be unduly prejudiced by the waiver.
  4. If the waiver is granted, the parties will be notified and informed about any changes to the application timeframes.

On occasion we may decide to not seek consent, for example if the waiver is minor in effect.

Requests for further information Plus

Sometimes we 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 on this website at the time of public notification.

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

Requests for further information from other sources

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

Further information of this type is made available on the application web page on this website at least 10 working days before the hearing or consideration.

We have 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.