ADIA is the peak business organisation representing manufacturers and suppliers of dental products. Our vision is for an industry that empowers oral health professionals to advance the health and wellbeing of all Australians...................... — ADIA Strategic Plan

Member Consultation —
Ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury

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To provide businesses across the dental industry with the opportunity to contribute to changes that affect the commercial, technical and regulatory environment the Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA) seeks member advice and guidance when making representations to government. The following details pertain to an invitation that ADIA has received from the Australian Government to tender comment on behalf of the dental industry.
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Subject:

Ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury

Status:

OPEN

Comment Due Date:

Friday, 10 March 2017

Department / Agency:

Department of Environment and Energy

Background:

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Major highlights of the Minamata Convention include a ban on new mercury mines, the phase-out of existing ones, the phase out and phase down of mercury use in a number of products and processes, control measures on emissions to air and on releases to land and water, and the regulation of the informal sector of artisanal and small-scale gold mining. The Convention also addresses interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, sites contaminated by mercury as well as health issues The Australian Government is seeking advice on the steps associated with ratification of the Convention.

Purpose:

To assess what actions are needed to reduce the amount of mercury released into the environment, and the benefits and costs of taking those actions, an Exposure Draft Final Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) on ratifying the Minamata Convention on Mercury is now available for public comment, having been prepared by the Department of Environment and Energy.

To assess the health impacts of mercury in Australia and the potential health benefits from the phasing-down of mercury, the primary domestic exposure pathways for the Australian population were identified. Where data that is specific to the Australian population was not available, comparable international data was used and extrapolated to suit Australian circumstances. This was the context in which the Australian Government is considering reforms that are being driven by two overarching objectives:

To significantly reduce the risks of mercury exposure to human health and the environment domestically, and

To encourage neighbouring countries to reduce their emissions and releases. This will also serve to reduce the total amount of mercury that is liberated for transboundary pollution internationally.

To address the serious risk that mercury poses to human health and the environment in Australia and contribute to a global solution, a series off four policy options have been developed:

Option 1 (base case):

No Policy Change

Australian governments and industry maintain current policy, programmes and practices into the future.

Option 2:

Ratification of the Minamata Convention

Australian Governments enable ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury including meeting the timelines and requirements outlined in the Convention

This would involve making legislative amendments to better contro the: Import and export of mercury and products containing mercury; Manufacture of mercury and products containing mercury; Mining for mercury; Interim storage of mercury; Emissions of mercury to the atmosphere; Releases of mercury to land or water; and Management, recovery, recycling, reclamation and reuse of mercury.

Option 3:

Ratification of the Minamata Convention with Dental Amalgam waste programme

This includes the measures outlind in Option 2 and and after ratification, the Commonwealth Government runs a national communications campaign promoting voluntary installation of dental amalgam waste traps and separators.

Option 4:

Ratification of the Minamata Convention with enhanced national phase down

This includes the measures included in Option 2 and Option 3 plis an earlier cancelation of the registration for mercury-containing pesticides.

This Regulation Impact Statement has assessed that the preferred Option for Australia to adopt to address the serious health and environmental risks posed by mercury is Option 4: ratify the Minamata Convention and implement an enhanced national phase down of mercury releases to the environment.

Documents:

Final Regulation Impact Statement Exposure Draft - Minamata Convention Ratification [PDF]

Cost Benefit Analysis Report - Australia Phasing Down Mercury [PDF]

Member Engagement:

ADIA-DRC Dental Regulation Committee

Comments To:

ADIA Policy team via email at canberra@adia.org.au

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ADIA member businesses with an interest in this issue are invited to comment by forwarding your thoughts via email to canberra@adia.org.au by the due date. Although comments of a technical / legal nature are welcome, a simple plain-English statement as to the extent this reform proposal will / will not affect your business is all that's required as such advice greatly assists ADIA in advocating on behalf of the dental industry, particularly in the context of our support for small business.

In pursuing policy reforms the work of the Association is set out in the ADIA Advocacy Agenda that seeks to create an environment in which businesses in the dental industry can grow, create jobs and operate sustainably.

Be sure to keep up to date on this issue by following ADIA on Facebook at www.facebook.com.au/dental.industry and by subscribing to the Twitter feed @AusDental. Members requiring further information can send an email to policy@adia.org.au or telephone 1300 943 094.


This information is available for your use under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence, with the exception of the ADIA logo, other images and where otherwise stated.

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