The Australian Protected Cropping industry should be aware that there will be meetings held Australia-wide to look at the impact of any proposed regulations on the supply and use of 11 chemicals including Potassium Nitrate, an important fertiliser used in the hydroponic industry.
In 2008, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) finalised its review of the regulation,
reporting and security surrounding the storage, sale and handling of chemicals of security concern. As part of this review, COAG identified 96 chemicals that could potentially be accessed by terrorists in the Australian context. It also agreed to undertake a comprehensive risk assessment of each of these 96 chemicals.
The Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department has completed risk assessments of 11 chemicals that are precursors to home-made explosives. These are:
- Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)
- Sodium chlorate (NaClO3)
- Nitric acid ((HNO3)
- Potassium chlorate (KClO3)
- Sodium perchlorate (NaVlO4)
- Potassium perchlorate (KClO4)
- Ammonium perchlorate (NH4ClO4)
- Sodium nitrate (NaNO3)
- Potassium nitrate (KNO3)
- Nitromethane (CH3NO2)
- Sodium azide (NaN3).
The Department has also drafted proposed treatment measures to address the risks identified through the risk assessment process. These treatment measures centre on:
- Employee and contractor checking and security awareness
- Inventory control, and
- Sales and distribution.
The Department is now at the stage of subjecting its proposed treatment measures to a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) and it has commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to develop the RIS to draw the best available evidence to produce good policy outcomes. To this end, PwC has established two mechanisms through which businesses likely to be affected by the proposed treatment measures can directly contribute to the RIS process. These mechanisms include:
- Focus groups to be held in every capital city (except Canberra), and
- An online survey.
The focus group meetings will be held over August and September 2011. If you would like to attend one of these meetings, it is necessary to register your interest by emailing (email@example.com) your name, contact details and preferred focus group. The online survey will occur over September 2011.
The Protected Cropping industry have been encouraged to attend these meetings to voice their concerns before onerous conditions are placed on the use of an important fertiliser like Potassium Nitrate.
Further information about the survey contact: Leight Crutchley, Director, Chemical Security Coordination, Attorney-General’s Department (Leigh.Crutchley@ag.gov.au); or Dr Cameron Crouch, PwC (Cameron.firstname.lastname@example.org).