The EPA is responsible for administering this legislation, in partnership with other state government agencies.
Regulating chemicals in NSW
A guide to understanding the laws about chemicals, licences, and chemical control orders.
While chemicals and their use are regulated in several ways, the Environmentally Hazardous Chemicals Act 1985 (EHC Act) is the primary legislation for specifically regulating environmentally hazardous chemicals throughout their life cycle. The Act sets out requirements for
- chemical control orders (CCOs) which are used to manage specified hazardous chemicals and chemical wastes – there are five existing CCOs in NSW
- technology assessments, which ensure that premises treating or destroying chemicals are safe and appropriate for their purpose
- licensing of individuals or industries who manage chemicals that are subject to a CCO.
The introduction of new regulatory frameworks since the EHC Act commenced have led to changes in the way some chemicals are regulated.
- Assessments of new and existing industrial chemicals are undertaken by the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS)
- Contaminated sites, air and water pollution, and waste management are regulated under other specific NSW legislation
- Pesticide control and use is regulated under other specific NSW legislation.
In addition to the EHC Act, the EPA and other government agencies regulate chemicals under other legislation.
Legislation administered by the EPA
- The Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 regulates sites that are contaminated with chemical wastes that pose a significant risk of harm to human health and the environment.
- The Pesticides Act 1999 regulates and controls the use of pesticides after they are sold to minimise risks from pesticide use.
- The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 regulates chemical pollution and waste management, and specifies licensing requirements for activities including hazardous waste generation, storage and transport.
- The Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010 regulates chemical air emissions from industry, wood heaters, open burning, motor vehicles and fuels.
- The Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014 regulates waste storage and transport and sets reporting and record keeping requirements for waste facilities. The regulation has special requirements for asbestos, including a special waste monitoring requirement, and prohibits the application of specified residue wastes to land where vegetation will be grown.
- The Protection from Harmful Radiation Act 1990 and Protection from Harmful Regulation 2013 regulate and control radioactive substances, radioactive sources and radiation apparatus, but do not apply to radioactive ore while it is being mined or treated.
- The Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Act 2008 allows both the EPA and SafeWork NSW to regulate the transport of dangerous goods (other than explosives and radioactive substances) by road and rail as part of a national scheme.
- The Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2001 enables the EPA to regulate the management and disposal of chemical waste (PDF 572KB).
Legislation administered by Department of Primary Industries (DPI)
- The Stock Medicines Act 1989 regulates most veterinary chemical products used on animals.
- The Biosecurity Act 2015 and the Biosecurity Regulation 2017 regulate fertilisers as well as impose requirements for labelling stock foods and for contaminated standards.
- Fertilisers are regulated under the Fertilisers Act 1985
Legislation relating to food, health and work safety
- SafeWork NSW through the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, regulates the health, safety and welfare of people in workplaces. Safework’s Model Code of Practice-Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace helps businesses manage health and safety risks associated with hazardous chemicals.
- The Pharmaceutical Services Branch of NSW Health administers the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act and Regulation to ensure that medicines are safely stored, distributed, prescribed and supplied.
- The NSW Food Authority regulates and monitors food safety throughout the supply chain under the Food Act 2003.