Amended Act will streamline chemical assessments process
28 October 2022
Amendments to the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO Act) will make it easier for the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to assess hazardous substances, and the process more transparent.
The package of amendments passed its final reading on 26 October and will allow the EPA to quickly approve new hazardous substances for the same use if already approved by an international regulator.
This includes approving alternative chemicals that are safer and more environmentally friendly.
As part of moves to make the reassessment process more transparent, the EPA must develop and publish a work plan for the substances to be reassessed.
Criteria for selecting appropriate international regulators are included in the amendments, and the EPA must develop a list of these regulators with input from a public consultation process.
The changes also enable the EPA to speed up reassessments to change the rules for using existing substances, and to temporarily restrict how a substance is used while a reassessment is being carried out.
“We welcome these practical improvements to the HSNO Act, which will ensure we can make better use of information from trusted international sources,” says EPA Chief Executive Dr Allan Freeth.
“Being able to respond quickly to new information we receive and change how a substance can be used means we can better protect people and the environment.”
The EPA provided key information and recommendations for amendments during the development of the HSNO Amendment Bill from 2018 to 2020.
The amendments are expected to be incorporated into the HSNO Act in early November 2022.