• C/- Chemistry Australia Level 11, 10 Queen Street, Melbourne, Vic, 3000
  • (03) 9611 5400


Paint manufacturing commenced in Australia in the 1850’s.  The earliest records of paint-based industry associations exist in the Minute Books of the Paint and Varnish Manufacturers’ Section of the Chamber of Manufacturers’ of NSW, going back to 1925.  The section had clearly been in existence for some years and there is evidence that the Chamber of Manufacturers’ in Victoria, Queensland and other States had similar sections since the turn of the 1900’s.

The Minutes of 21 May 1925 tell us that the Section was reconstituted to consist of three sub-committees.

The No. 1 Committee was to embrace paint oils, thinners, pigment strainers, inert fillers, mixed paint and paint removers.  The No. 2 Committee was to embrace standard methods of testing, nomenclature and the precautions to be taken in the manufacture and use of paints.  The No. 3 Committee was to embrace varnish oils, thinners, gums and resins, nomenclature, varnish removers and standard methods of testing.

No. 1 and 2 Committees were to form part of the paint and paint oils section and No. 3 Committee was to operate with the varnish and enamels section.
In a ballot the following were elected as members of the respective Committees:

  • No. 1 Committee – Messrs H J Barncastle, H G Taubman;
  • No. 2 Committee – Messrs R F Boan, J Bishop;
  • No. 3 Committee – Messrs F S Hatrick, H J Sullivan.

In May 1933 the Section appears to have been reconstituted as an association in its own right.  At that meeting it was resolved that members should be asked to contribute “one guinea per head per year to meet incidental expenses and that only those who contribute the guinea may be recognised as members of the association”.  It was further resolved that an account be opened in the name of the “Paint, Varnish and Lacquers Manufacturers’ Association of NSW” at the Bank of NSW.  The signatories should be any two of: the Chairman (Mr Barncastle), the Secretary (Mr F L Edwards) and Mr C P Taubman (Sterling Varnish Limited and Taubmans Ltd).

It is interesting to note that many of the names we find in the Minutes of those early meetings are still with us today as paint brands.  Taubmans is one example but so was Berger and Feast Watson.

The Australian Paint Manufacturers’ Federation Inc. (APMF) was formed in 1947 and appointed its first Executive Director in 1957.

Some 30 years later the last vestiges of the federal structure disappeared with a decision made in December 1985 to close down the Sections which then operated in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, for economic and rationalisation purposes.  Since then the APMF has had offices only in New South Wales.

Today, the APMF fulfils vital roles in advising members of changes to relevant legislation and regulations and in representing members’ interests to the relevant regulatory authorities.  Relevant statistical reports and analyses are also regularly circulated to the members.

Some important APMF milestones are listed below:

1970’s – Lead was voluntarily phased out in Architectural and Decorative Paints.  The Australian National Health Medical Research Council’s limit in paint for domestic use was 0.5%.  This figure was lowered to 0.25% in March 1992 and 0.1% in 1997.

1992 – APMF becomes a founding member of the International Paint and Printing Ink Council.

2007 – APMF works with Government Agencies to ban the manufacture or importation of all paints and inks containing lead above 0.1%.

2012 – Following two reports, the Commonwealth Government recognises the industry’s track record regarding the long term reduction of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in surface coatings, and agrees not to increase any further regulatory burden on our industry regarding the use of VOCs in coatings.

2012 – A Six month Victorian “PaintCare” Trial was completed to collect trade waste paint data for a future national architectural and decorative waste paint product stewardship scheme.

2016 – Following approvals from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Paintback® is launched. Paintback® is the first unified national scheme developed and implemented by industry, to collect and remove from landfill waste paint, retail and trade, architectural and decorative paints.

2017 – 70th Anniversary since formation.

2019 – Chemistry Australia and the APMF form a new partnership.