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Code of Practice for Supply Diversion into Illicit Drug Manufacture

This Code of Practice was first developed by PACIA and SIA in partnership with law enforcement bodies in 1994, and is aimed to provide a best practice guide for companies to address prevention of diversion of legitimate industrial chemicals into the illicit drug manufacture. The code has most recently been updated in October 2008.

Listed chemicals in the code attract controls proportionate to the level of risk for diversion and are categorised into three lists.  Category I lists attract stringent industry controls, such as the requirement companies request End User Declarations from customers seeking to purchase the listed chemicals, and to subsequently forward these declarations to law enforcement in order to analyse potential diversion risks.

Cash sales are prohibited for Category I chemicals, and supply of these products is required to be delayed for 24 hours.  Category II chemicals attract less stringent controls, with Category III chemicals listed for precautionary purposes only.


Compliance with the Code is voluntary. Compliance with the Code will not ensure compliance with current legislative requirements.  The relevant legislation in each jurisdiction must be consulted.


State Legislation

The State and Territory Governments are responsible for providing leadership within their respective jurisdictions and legislating any proposed controls on precursor chemicals. They are also responsible for policy development, implementation and evaluation, and for the delivery of police, health and education services to reduce drug-related harm.

The current State legislation for illicit drug precursor chemicals is:


New South Wales



South Australia

Western Australia

Northern Territory

Regulatory Framework

The National Drug Strategy 2010-2015 provides a framework for a coordinated, integrated approach to drug issues in the Australian community, which is agreed to by all Australian governments.

The Attorney-General's Department contributes to the development of national drug policy, primarily in reducing the supply of illicit drugs.

The National Precursor Control Framework  was endorsed in May 2010, and the provides the policy framework for their work.  The purpose of the Framework is to deliver a national approach to the control of precursor chemicals which:

  • Reduces the diversion of precursor chemicals and related equipment for illicit use
  • Minimises the compliance burden on legitimate industry, and
  • Minimises the administrative costs for government.

The following set of principles have been agreed to achieve this purpose:

  • Coordinated, consistent and cooperative approach is critical to the establishment of an effective framework for the control of precursors and equipment, reflecting the role played by the Commonwealth Government, State and Territory Governments and industry at different points in the supply chain.
  • Partnerships with industry are vital to ensure cooperative efforts are maximised.
  • Integration action across the supply chain to address identified vulnerabilities, including importation, manufacture, sales, transport, storage, use and disposal.
  • Complementing existing measures to address precursor diversion and the amphetamine-type stimulants supply.
  • Minimise impact on legitimate industry and governments
  • Complies with International Obligations

An informed evidence-based approach has been identified as critical to deliver effective results.  An objective risk based approach to assessment and control is necessary to ensure that control measures are proportionate and focused on appropriate areas.

A Precursor Threat Assessment Tool, largely based on the Australian Standard for risk management (AS/NZS 4360) and tailored to incorporate specific issues relating to the importation, possession, sale and use of precursor chemicals and equipment will be developed and used to assess the identified precursor chemicals. 

The Framework allows for expert advice from non-government representatives, including industry, to inform the recommendations regarding actions to mitigate the risk posed by specific chemicals and equipment.

Based on the above principles, the Framework establishes a flexible mechanism to conduct risk-based assessment of precursor chemicals, informed by expert government and non-government inputs and integrated with broader government chemical regulatory structures.  A number of initiatives have been identified which will help deliver the outcomes sought under the proposed Framework:

  • An Enhanced National Intelligence Picture on Illicit Drugs Project (ENIPID)

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the National Measurement Institute will work in partnership to analyse samples of ATS to determine the key precursors used in their manufacture. 

  • National Drug Precursor Risk Assessment Capability (NDPRAC)

A dedicated unit to conduct risk assessment of identified precursor chemicals of concern for, and equipment used in, illicit drug manufacture has been established by the AFP.  The unit will provide threat assessments to the PAG (see below) to inform national activities to reduce the threat of precursor diversion and enhance Australia’s knowledge of precursor chemicals. 

  • A Precursor Advisory Group (PAG)

The PAG, comprising expert members of Commonwealth and State and Territory governments, will develop measures to mitigate the threat of diversion of precursor chemicals and equipment proportionate to assessed risk, and which impose the minimum burden on industry and government.

  • A Precursor Industry Reference Group (PIRG)

The PIRG comprises of industry stakeholders and other private sector experts, provide industry and expert advice and assistance to the PAG to assist meeting the objectives of the Framework.


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