Section 68 of the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 requires the minister to prepare an annual report on the operation of the Act. This section provides the report for the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.
The Act provides for a licensing system for import, export and manufacture of ozone-depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases and equipment containing such substances and gases to enable Australia to meet its international obligations. The Act prohibits the import or manufacture of certain products (listed in Schedule 4 of the Act) that contain or use scheduled substances unless the minister grants an exemption.
The Act establishes the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995. End uses of ozone-depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases in the refrigeration, air conditioning and fire protection industries are controlled under the Regulations to reduce emissions. The handling and use of these substances are regulated under industry-based permit schemes.
Significant developments during 2019–20
On 1 January 2020 Australia entered its second stage of the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) imports, following the commencement of the phase-down on 1 January 2018. On 1 January 2020 Australia's annual import limit reduced from 8 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) to 7.25 million tonnes CO2e. The phase-down is one of the Australian Government's measures to meet Australia's 2030 greenhouse gas emission targets and Australia’s obligations under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
HFC imports in 2018 and 2019 were within the limits set down in the legislation and the Montreal Protocol and details of the legislation can be found on our website.
Import, export and manufacture licences
The minister (or their delegate) may issue 4 types of licences. Descriptions of these licence types are on our website.
At 30 June 2020 there were 691 licences, consisting of:
- 48 controlled substances licences
- 634 ozone-depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gas equipment licences
- 4 used substances licences
- 5 essential use licences.
Imports of ozone depleting chemicals and synthetic greenhouse gases
In the 2019 calendar year Australia imported:
- 2.497 ozone-depleting potential (ODP) tonnes of bulk hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which is significantly less than the quantity permitted under the Montreal Protocol (55 ODP tonnes).
- A further 0.01 ODP tonnes of HCFCs in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.
- 493.63 ODP tonnes of methyl bromide, comprising
- 476.67 ODP tonnes for quarantine and pre-shipment fumigations, which are exempt from the methyl bromide phase-out under the Montreal Protocol
- 16.96 tonnes for non-quarantine and pre-shipment uses where Australia has a critical use exemption approved under the Montreal Protocol for strawberry runner propagation in Victoria.
The handling and use of ozone-depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases in the refrigeration, air conditioning and fire protection industries and the uses of methyl bromide as a feedstock and as a fumigant for approved critical uses and quarantine and pre-shipment uses are regulated under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995.
Two competency-based industry permit schemes control the end-use acquisition, storage, disposal, handling and trading of substances scheduled under the Act. On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Refrigeration Council administers the Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Industry Permit Scheme. The Fire Protection Association Australia administers the Fire Protection Industry Permit Scheme through the Fire Protection Industry Board.
Further information on the schemes is available on the Australian Refrigeration Council and Fire Protection Industry Board websites.
At 30 June 2020 there were 106,230 active industry permits, consisting of:
- fire protection – 123 extinguishing agent trading authorisations, 1357 extinguishing agent handling licences and 44 halon special permits
- refrigeration and air conditioning – 21,432 refrigerant trading authorisations and 83,274 refrigerant handling licences.
Compliance and enforcement
We conduct compliance and enforcement activities under the Act relating to the manufacture, import, export and end use of ozone-depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases. We work with the Australian Border Force to monitor imports to ensure compliance with the Act. We also work with the Australian Refrigeration Council and the Fire Protection Association Australia to monitor compliance among permit holders that work with the regulated substances.
In 2019–20 we received 119 reports of non-compliance (Table 46). Of these, 103 reports were referred for follow-up action. All allegations were assessed in accordance with the department's compliance policy to determine the most appropriate response. Responses this year included educational engagement, site inspections and regulatory notices.
In 2019–20 we issued 4 infringement notices. Two notices were issued to an entity found to be in possession of scheduled substances in non-refillable containers without the appropriate permit. The entity subsequently paid the notices and obtained a permit. Two notices were issued to an entity that imported bulk scheduled substances, without holding an appropriate import licence and using non-refillable containers for the storage of scheduled substances.
On 27 November 2019 the Minister for the Environment commenced a proceeding in the Federal Court of Australia against an entity in relation to a contravention under the Act. The department subsequently filed for assisted dispute resolution, with mediation to occur in July 2020.
Table 46 Compliance activities under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989, 2019–20
Total allegations of potential non-compliance referred to the department
Referred for follow-up
Completed inspections of regulated premises
Compliance education engagement (site visits, phone calls, other)
Other outcomes (targeted border controls, refusal of permits, entity no longer operating)
The Act provides for the collection of licence application fees at the levels set under the Regulations and import and manufacturing levies set under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) Act 1995 and the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Manufacture Levy) Act 1995.
Revenue received during 2019–20 from operation of the National Halon Bank, and licence fees and levies is shown in Table 47.
Table 47 Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Special Account revenue, 2019–20
Amount in 2019–20 ($)
National Halon Bank sales and services
Refrigeration fee a
Fire protection fees c
In 2019–20 we paid the Australian Refrigeration Council $6,227,903 for administering the Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Industry Permit Scheme. We paid the Fire Protection Association Australia $725,699 for administering the Fire Protection Industry Permit Scheme.