One of the functions of the CEO of ARPANSA is to promote uniformity of radiation protection and nuclear safety policy and practices across all jurisdictions.
The CEO is assisted in this function by the Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council (RHSAC), the Radiation Health Committee (RHC) and the Nuclear Safety Committee (NSC).
The RHC is established under the ARPANS Act to advise the CEO and the RHSAC on matters relating to radiation protection, including formulating draft national policies, codes and standards for the promotion of uniform national standards of radiation protection for consideration by the Commonwealth, states and territories. The RHC includes representatives from each of the nine jurisdictions in Australia.
In August 2004 ARPANSA released Edition 1 of the National Directory for Radiation Protection (NDRP) prepared by the RHC and endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers’ Conference as the uniform national framework for radiation protection. Several amendments have since been made to the NDRP:
- Amendments 1–3 endorsed by Ministers December 2009
- Amendment 4 endorsed by Ministers April 2010
- Amendment 5 endorsed by Ministers June 2011
- Amendment 6 endorsed by the Standing committee on Health December 2013
- Amendment 7 endorsed by the COAG Health Council in March 2017
Further amendments are expected as codes and standards are developed and nationally uniform regulatory elements (e.g. competency requirements for authorisation to use radiation sources, criteria for registration of sources and accreditation requirements for third-party service providers) are agreed upon.
Differences in radiation legislation and regulatory policy among the nine jurisdictions can sometimes prove problematic for users of radiation sources operating in more than one jurisdiction. To reduce the likely burden on users, ARPANSA with the radiation regulatory bodies of New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria have endorsed the following Regulatory Expectations. The document sets out what applicants can expect when seeking authorisations (licences or registrations) for the same activity in multiple jurisdictions. Ultimately it endeavours to further the objectives of nationally uniform radiation protection outcomes, and to minimise unnecessary regulatory burden. ARPANSA is actively seeking endorsement of the Regulatory Expectations by the radiation regulatory bodies of the remaining jurisdictions (the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia).
Note also that every jurisdiction has a Mutual Recognition Act and Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act. These Acts set out certain rights for individuals seeking an occupational licence or registration in a state or territory on the basis that they are already licensed or registered for an 'equivalent occupation' in another state or territory. More details are available at http://www.licencerecognition.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx.
Environmental Health Standing Committee (enHealth)
enHealth and its Radiation Health Expert Reference Panel (RHERP) are a key contributor to the national work on pursuing national consistency of regulation in radiation protection. enHealth, a standing committee of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) provides advice on environmental health policy. It brings together expertise from Australian, state and territory health departments and research councils, and their New Zealand counterparts. Supported by an overarching arrangement, ARPANSA works in consultation with enHealth on a range of matters including the National Directory for Radiation Protection (2nd Edition, 2021).
Further details on enHealth and RHERP can be found on the Department of Health website.
Report a national uniformity issue
ARPANSA is interested in hearing from businesses that have encountered difficulties with licensing, registration, shielding, disposals, transport, or other mutual recognition issues when dealing with different radiation regulators.
Please complete the stakeholder feedback webform to provide feedback on issues with national uniformity in radiation regulation.
All Australian radiation regulatory jurisdictions have agreed to the use of this form for the reporting of national uniformity issues.
Information collected will be used to recommend improvements to reduce regulatory burden and increase efficiency. No individual respondent will be identified without permission. See ARPANSA’s privacy statement.