Terrorists can use chemicals found in everyday products to make powerful homemade explosives and toxic weapons.
Approximately 40,000 chemicals are approved for use in Australia. Of those 40,000 chemicals, 96 are identified as being chemicals of security concern because of their potential to be used by terrorists to make bombs or toxic weapons.
If you work with chemicals you have an important role to play in keeping Australia safe. Members of the Australian community can also help by being aware and reporting suspicious behaviour.
You are encouraged to report anything that seems unusual to the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Code of Practice for Chemicals of Security Concern
There are 15 chemicals that are assessed as being particularly high-risk. These 15 are covered by the National Code of Practice for Chemicals of Security Concern.
The Code is designed to help prevent chemicals falling into the wrong hands. It encourages companies and individuals that manage or handle chemicals of security concern to consider the risk of terrorism in their security planning processes. The Code provides guidance and information on a range of practical security measures that businesses and individuals can take.
The code was launched in July 2013 and updated to include four toxic chemicals in May 2016. You can download a copy of the code and other documents below.
Some of the ways in which the 15 high-risk chemicals are commonly used here in Australia are detailed in the table below:
The code is based on good business practices that prevent the loss and theft of chemicals. It encourages organisations to consider and examine their own risks from a national security perspective and to take steps to reduce risks to ensure that chemicals are not stolen or diverted for terrorist purposes.
Development of the code
The government, in consultation with the states and territories and industry, conducted a chemical security risk assessment on each of the 11 precursor chemicals to homemade explosives. A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) process which determined how best to treat the national security risks these chemicals posed concluded in August 2012. The RIS process included public consultation and the final decision RIS is available on the Office of Best Practice Regulation website.
In line with the outcome of the RIS, in December 2012, the government released the draft of the original code for consultation with industry. Feedback from the consultation process shaped the final version of the original code.
Following chemical security risk assessments of the remaining 84 chemicals, another Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) process was concluded in November 2014. You can download a copy of the Decision RIS below.
In line with the outcomes of this RIS, the Code was amended to add four toxic chemicals to the list of high-risk chemicals.