Operation of the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989


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 meets this reporting requirement for 2015–16.

Purpose


The Act regulates the use of ozone-depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases in Australia and gives effect to Australia’s obligations under the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Further information is on the Department’s website.

www.environment.gov.au/protection/ozone

Broadly, the Act’s objectives are to:


Further detail is on our website.

www.environment.gov.au/protection/ozone/legislation


Operation

Licensing


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 under section 40.

The Minister or their delegate may issue four types of licences. Descriptions of each licence type are on our website.

www.environment.gov.au/protection/ozone/licences

At 30 June 2016, there were 1086 licences active:




Imports


Australia is obliged under the Montreal Protocol to phase out ozone-depleting substances. We are implementing accelerated phase-out through a licensing and quota system that will see Australia use 61 per cent less hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) than permitted under the Montreal Protocol to 2020. Australia’s import limit for HCFCs reduced from 10 ozone-depleting potential (ODP) tonnes a year in 2014 and 2015 to 2.5 ODP tonnes a year from 2016 to 2029. HCFC imports will be completely phased out from 2030.

In 2015, Australia imported 9.961 ODP tonnes of bulk HCFCs, which is significantly less than the quantity permitted under the Montreal Protocol (55 ODP tonnes). A further 0.24 ODP tonnes of HCFCs were imported in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment and are accounted for in the country where the equipment was manufactured.

In 2015, Australia imported 536.416 ODP tonnes of methyl bromide, of which 17.850 ODP tonnes were imported for controlled uses (which is less than our Montreal Protocol limit of 17.856 ODP tonnes).

In 2015, Australia imported:



Australia imported a further 4659.82 CO2-e kilotonnes of hydrofluorocarbons, 285.68 CO2-e kilotonnes of sulfur hexafluoride and 0.0219 CO2-e kilotonnes of perfluorocarbons in equipment.

End-use regulations


The Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995 regulate the 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.

The Fire Protection Industry Permit Scheme is a competency-based permit scheme relating to handling and trading extinguishing agents and possession of halon. The Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA) administers the scheme on behalf of the Australian Government. At 30 June 2016 there were 142 extinguishing agent trading authorisations, 1138 licences and 42 halon special permits under the scheme. Further information is on the association’s website.

www.fpaa.com.au

The Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Industry Permit Scheme is a competency-based permit scheme covering refrigerant handling and trading and equipment manufacturing. The Australian Refrigeration Council administers the scheme on behalf of the Australian Government. At 30 June 2016 the Australian Refrigeration Council had issued 17,650 refrigerant trading authorisations and 64,023 refrigerant handling licences. Further information is on the council’s website.

www.arctick.org

Compliance and enforcement


The Department conducts compliance and enforcement activities under the Act relating to the manufacture, import and export of ozone-depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases, including equipment containing those substances. In cooperation with the Australian Border Force, we have a range of monitoring and inspection arrangements to deal with non compliance with the Act (see Table 5.27).

Table 5.27: Compliance actions under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 in 2015–16



The Department promotes self-regulation and uses a range of administrative, civil and criminal sanctions to ensure the most appropriate response to breaches of the legislation. In some cases we may seek an injunction from the Federal Court.

End-use compliance activities have an educational focus. They include site visits and awareness campaigns for industry and registered training organisations. Potentially non compliant companies and technicians are referred to the Department for appropriate monitoring and enforcement action.


Financial information


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.

All revenue must be deposited in the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Special Account established by the Act. Revenue from licensing, from the cost recovery component of the import and manufacture levies and from the National Halon Bank is directed towards the cost of administration, phase-out programs for ozone-depleting substances, emission minimisation programs, management of the National Halon Bank, research relating to ozone depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases and refunds.

Revenue received during 2015–16 from operation of the National Halon Bank and licence fees and levies is shown in Table 5.28.

Table 5.28: Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Special Account revenue, 2015–16



a The Australian Refrigeration Council administers the refrigeration and air-conditioning industry permit scheme and collects permit application fees on behalf of the Department.

b The Fire Protection Association Australia administers the fire protection industry permit scheme and collects permit application fees on behalf of the Department.

In 2015–16 the Department paid the ARC $4,613,896 (GST exclusive) for operating the Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Industry Permit Scheme and the FPAA $492,529.00 (GST exclusive) for administering the Fire Protection Industry Permit Scheme.

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Operation of the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989

Operation of the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989


Section 61 of the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989 requires the Minister to prepare a report on the operation of the Act for each financial year. This section meets the reporting requirements for 2015–16.

The Department submitted an annual report on Australia’s implementation of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal to the convention’s secretariat during 2015–16. The annual report is on the Basel Convention website.

www.basel.int/Countries/NationalReporting/BaselConventionNationalReports/tabid/4250/Default.aspx

Purpose


The Act regulates the export, import and transit of hazardous waste to ensure that movements of hazardous waste are managed in an environmentally sound manner so that human and environmental health are protected from harmful impacts of the waste.

The Act gives effect to the Basel Convention and to agreements and arrangements of the kind mentioned in Article 11 of the Basel Convention.


Operation


The Act requires the import, export or transit of hazardous waste to be approved by the Minister or their delegate through a permitting system. A person who has one or more import proposals, export proposals or transit proposals in relation to hazardous waste may apply to the Minister for a permit authorising the import, export or transit of the waste. Issuing a hazardous waste permit is subject to the proposed movement being in accordance with the environmentally sound management of the waste.

In 2015–16, the Minister or his delegate granted 53 permits and refused two permits. Details of permit applications and decisions are published in the Australian Government Gazette and on the Department’s website.

www.legislation.gov.au/Browse/Results/ByPortfolio/Gazettes/InForce/Environment

www.environment.gov.au/protection/hazardous-waste/applying-permit



Compliance and enforcement

The Department continued to strengthen its compliance and enforcement activities and cooperated with the Australian Border Force to prevent illegal traffic in hazardous waste. The Australian Border Force screens high-risk export cargo to help the Department enforce the requirements of the Act.

In 2015–16, there were seven incidents of non-compliance with Australian hazardous waste legislation. These mostly related to the export of e-waste without a valid permit.

As a result of the Department’s collaboration with freight forwarders on handling used electronic equipment, more exporters are taking active measures to be compliant with the requirements in relation to e-waste.


Administrative Appeals Tribunal


One application for a review of a decision was made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. This application was discontinued. Further information is under ‘External scrutiny’ in Part 3, ‘Management and accountability’, page 112.

Financial information


In 2015–16, the Department collected $54,646 (GST exclusive) in permit application fees under the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) (Fees) Regulations 1990.

Committees


Section 58E of the Act establishes the Hazardous Waste Technical Group. The Minister must consult this group on any proposed new regulations about the definition of hazardous waste and on evidentiary certificates issued under the Act.

The technical group was established but did not meet in 2015–16 (see Table 5.26).

Table 5.26: Membership of the Hazardous Waste Technical Group as at 30 June 2016



Members



Professor Paul Greenfield (Chairperson)

Dr Peter Di Marco

Mr John Hogan

Ms Diane Kovacs

Mr Stephen Moore

Dr Peter Nadebaum

Dr Neill Stacey

Dr Jennifer Stauber

Compliance actions



Total



Referrals

265

Site inspections

107

Investigations (import and domestic end use)

97

Compliance achieved (site visits, phone calls, other)

115

Other outcomes (targeted border controls, refusal of permits, no longer operating)

11

Activity



Amount in 2015–16 ($)



Levies

1,083,566

Licence fees

2,643,000

National Halon Bank sales and services

548,488

Refrigeration feesa

9,430,303

Penalties

59,053

Fire protection feesb

202,667

Total

13,967,077
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