The department regulates the use of radiation to protect people and the environment from its harmful effects, by licensing users of radiation sources and those who conduct radiation practices under the Radiation Act 2005. Regulations are required to fully give effect to the Act.
In Victoria, all regulations have a mandated ten-year sunsetting provision. This means that the regulations expire after 10 years. The policy intention is to allow for regulations to be regularly reviewed. This is to assess whether the regulation is still required and how they may be improved to better achieve the desired benefits and/or reduce the cost that it imposes.
The Radiation Regulations 2007 will sunset on 28 August 2017.
What is proposed?
The proposed regulations would create a similar regulatory environment in which Victoria currently operates, which is already closely aligned with international and national best practice.
Many of the proposed requirements have been drawn directly from national codes and standards which are required to be implemented by all jurisdictions in Australia pursuant to national agreements.
The current Regulations prescribe:
- the activity concentration and activity of material that spontaneously emits ionising radiation and the prescribed circumstances for the purposes of the definition in the Act of the term 'radioactive material'
- radiation dose limits
- the radiation sources that require a current certificate of compliance prior to use of the source
- the date of expiry for certificates of compliance issued in respect of prescribed radiation sources
- other matters required to give effect to the Act.
In addition to continuing to prescribe these elements, the main focus of changes in the proposed regulations is to strengthen the security of high consequence radioactive material and to implement changes to the occupational dose limit to the lens of the eye to reflect recent international, national and state developments.
Security of high consequence radioactive material
The proposal is to prescribe a number of matters relating to the security of high consequence radioactive material. These include prescribing:
- radionuclides and accompanying D-values necessary to complete the definition of a high consequence sealed source or high consequence group of sealed sources
- certain facilities to be a radiation facility
- those identification documents required to be verified by certain persons
- certain circumstances under which a revised security plan is not required to be re-assessed and approved by an approved assessor.
In addition, three other documents are proposed to be specified by the secretary of the department. These relate to:
These proposals only affect a very small number of management licence holders.
New eye dose limit for workers
A recent review of epidemiological evidence at the international level has led to the national agreement as manifested in the Code for Radiation Protection in Planned Exposure Situations that the equivalent dose limit for the lens of the eye for occupational exposure in planned exposure situations be reduced from 150 mSv per year to 20 mSv per year, averaged over 5 years, with no dose in a single year to exceed 50 mSv. The proposal is for Victoria to implement this change via the proposed regulations.
Changes to existing fees
The current fee structure is proposed to be unchanged with the following exceptions:
- Elimination of the fee associated with applying for a variation to an existing licence or approval
- Elimination of the fee associated with applying to transfer an existing management licence
- Creating a new fee category for non-enclosed cabinet X-ray units
- Creating a new fee category for dental 3D Volumetric X-ray units.
Regulatory Impact Statement
In accordance with the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994, a Regulatory Impact Statement has been prepared to provide an assessment of several regulatory proposals including the replacement of these Regulations and allows members of the community to comment on proposed Regulations and related documents (known as legislative instruments) before they are finalised.
The regulatory impact statement has been assessed by the Commissioner for Better Regulation as meeting the adequacy requirements of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994.
The proposals have been advertised in the Herald Sun on 8th June 2017 and in a special edition of the Victorian Government Gazette on the same day.
Submissions are now invited on the proposed regulations and legislative instruments. Submissions may be made on one or all of the proposals. Submissions should be in writing and clearly marked with the word "submission" and it is requested you quote the correct proposal or proposals your comments apply. Emailed comments and documents are preferred.
Unless requested by the author, all submissions will be treated as public documents and made available to other parties.
Written comments and submissions should be forwarded by no later than 5pm on Thursday 6th July 2017 to:
Department of Health & Human Services
Attention: Radiation Team
GPO Box 4057
MELBOURNE VIC 3001