Streamlining the NSW regulatory framework for managing industrial chemicals

The Environmentally Hazardous Chemicals Act 1985 (EHC Act) has been repealed. The regulation of environmentally hazardous chemicals now occurs through the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act).

Previously, the EHC Act was the primary legislation for regulating environmentally hazardous chemicals throughout their life cycle.

The EHC Act has been repealed. Key provisions of the EHC Act have been moved into the POEO Act.

This has simplified the regulation of industrial chemicals in NSW by requiring all chemical users and manufacturers to be regulated under the same piece of legislation with a single licence where required.

The following provisions from the former EHC Act now sit under the POEO Act: 

Chemical Control Orders

Chemical control orders currently in force in NSW continue to operate under the POEO Act.

Penalties for failing to comply with a chemical control order have been increased to align with penalties for Tier 2 offences under the POEO Act.

The EPA can continue to make new chemical control orders under the POEO Act.

Technology assessments

Chemical users and manufactures can apply to the EPA for an assessment of technology under the POEO Act. The application fees for these assessments are set out in section 154A of the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2022.

The EPA may also require a person to apply for an assessment of technology if the EPA considers it necessary to consider a licence application for industrial chemicals or chemicals subject to a chemical control order.

Forfeiture of chemicals

The POEO Act now provides for the forfeiture of substances and containers by order of the Land and Environment Court; retention and disposal of seized property; and disposal of forfeited property. 

Licences for environmentally hazardous chemicals

Environment protection licences now regulate activities under a chemical control order for premises based and non premises-based activities. See New scheduled activities for environmentally hazardous chemicals.

Frequently asked questions

EHC licences operating under the EHC Act have been converted to environment protection licences under the POEO Act, while retaining their existing conditions and licence entitlements. Refer Conversion of environmentally hazardous chemicals licences to environment protection licences.