Operation of the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989
The Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989 (the Hazardous Waste Act) enables Australia to meet its obligations under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. The Basel Convention regulates the international movements of hazardous wastes.
The Basel Convention was developed by the United Nations Environment Programme and adopted on 22 March 1989. Australia ratified the convention on 5 February 1992 and it came into effect on 5 May 1992. The convention imposes two kinds of obligations on members. Members are required to:
- control the export and import of hazardous and other wastes (other wastes being household wastes or incinerator residues); provide for notification and consent, as required by the Basel Convention, and track shipments to environmentally sound disposal
- minimise the movement and generation of hazardous and other wastes and ensure that hazardous wastes are disposed of in an environmentally sound manner.
Battery recycling area Mugga Lane Recycling Depot, ACT.
The purpose of the Hazardous Waste Act is to regulate the export, import, transit and disposal of hazardous waste.
In 2010–11 the department processed 33 applications for permits to import and export hazardous wastes (18 exports, 12 imports and three transits). From these applications, 24 permits were granted, no applications were refused, two were withdrawn and seven were still to be resolved as at 30 June 2011.
All permit applications were processed within the statutory time frames.
The most comprehensive source for permit applications and decisions under the Hazardous Waste Act is provided in the Australian Government Gazette.
Freedom of information
One request was received under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, which was subsequently withdrawn.
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
One 2009–10 application under section 57 of the Hazardous Waste Act, for review of a decision made by the minister was upheld by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
The annual report on the details of the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes from Australia was provided to the Secretariat of the Basel Convention.
For the purposes of section 32 of the Hazardous Waste Act, there are prescribed fees for the lodgment of permit applications.
This year income from fees totaled $11 630.
There was no requirement for the Hazardous Waste Technical Advisory group to meet this year.
Compliance and enforcement
The department continued to strengthen its enforcement activities and acted in cooperation with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service to prevent illegal traffic in hazardous waste.
Those with information that may be helpful in stopping illegal exports can contact the department’s hazardous waste unit by calling 1800 803 772 or emailing email@example.com.
The following resources relate to information referred to in Outcome 2, Sustainable Environment Legislation.
For more information on the Hazardous Waste Act and its operation
Permit applications and decisions under the Hazardous Waste Act