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Publications archive - Annual reports

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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Environment Australia Annual Report 2000-01

Environment Australia, 2001
ISSN 1441-9335

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

In accordance with section 61 of the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989, this report covers the operation of the Act from 1 July 2000 until 30 June 2001.

Purpose of the Act

The main purpose of the Act is to regulate the export and import of hazardous waste to ensure that exported or imported hazardous waste is disposed of safely so that human beings and the environment, both within and outside Australia, are protected from the harmful effects of the waste.

The Act was developed to enable Australia to comply with specific obligations under the Basel Convention on the Control of the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal by regulating the export and import of hazardous waste. The original Act of 1989 only controlled movements of wastes that lacked financial value, usually destined for final disposal operations, mirroring the then understanding of the convention's scope.

The Act was amended when it subsequently became apparent that the convention also encompassed movements of wastes destined for recycling and recovery of valuable constituents. The Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Amendment Act 1996 was passed in June 1996 and entered into force on 12 December 1996. The amendments aligned the scope of the Act with that of the Basel Convention, enabling Australia to meet all its obligations under the convention. The period 2000-01 covers the fourth full year in which the amended legislation has been in force.

The Basel Convention

The Basel Convention was developed by the United Nations Environment Programme and adopted on 22 March 1989.
The convention imposes two kinds of obligations on members:

Australia ratified the convention on 5 February 1992. The convention came into force on 5 May 1992. The sixth meeting of the conference of the parties to the convention is scheduled for 2002. Regulations

Regulations made under the amended Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989 provide for:

Competition policy review

The schedule of legislation reviews was announced by the Treasurer in June 1996 as part of the Competition Principles Agreement. Under this agreement, the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989 was scheduled for review. Terms of reference for the review were prepared in close consultation with the Office of Regulation Review.

The Allen Consulting Group was engaged to conduct the review under the direction and guidance of a task force of officials. The final review report, containing 10 recommendations, was received on 23 February 2001 and has been published on the Environment Australia website.

At 30 June 2001, a government response to the review was in the latter stages of development.

Permits

In 2000-01 the Minister or his delegates granted nine export and 11 import permits. Six permits were refused and there were no variations to existing permits. Details of permit applications received in 2000-01, including those not resolved by the end of the year, are presented in the following tables.

Fee income

During the year $12 940 was received in fee income. Fees are set to cover the costs of administration, in line with government policy.

Breaches, enforcement and suspension of permits

There were no prosecutions under the Act during 2000-01. Investigations of one suspected illegal export of hazardous waste under section 40 (regulation of export of hazardous waste), and one suspected illegal import of hazardous waste under section 39 (regulation of import of hazardous waste), both commencing in 1999-2000, were finalised. The Director of Public Prosecutions recommended that neither be brought to trial. In one case, while a prima facie case existed against the company, the Director of Public Prosecutions decided that prosecution was not in the public interest, principally because it was environmentally preferable to import the hazardous waste due to the particular circumstances of the exporting country. In the other case, the Director of Public Prosecutions found that insufficient evidence existed.

Two investigations of suspected illegal exports of hazardous waste under section 40 of the Act commenced during 2000-01 and one investigation of a suspected illegal import of hazardous waste under section 39 commenced. Three imports, totalling six containers of suspected hazardous waste, were seized and subsequently released after test results concluded that concentrations of hazardous metals were below concentration cut-off levels.

There were no ministerial orders issued in accordance with sections in part 3 (ministerial orders in relation to hazardous waste) of the Act during 2000-01. However, action to recover a debt incurred by the Commonwealth when a company did not comply with ministerial orders made under section 35 (orders where section 40 is contravened) of the Act in 1997-98 continued.

All permits were granted on the basis of the proposal being consistent with the environmentally sound management of the hazardous waste, and all permitted exports of hazardous waste had consent from the country of import. Articles 13 and 16 of the Basel Convention require annual reporting by the parties and collation by the secretariat of the data provided. Australia submitted its report in compliance with the convention. Basel Convention reports can be accessed through the Basel Convention's website at www.basel.int/pub/nationreport.html, and include statistics on generation and transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and other wastes.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

At 30 June 2001 no appeals had been received by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal under section 57 of the Act for a review of a decision made by the Minister.

Freedom of information

There were no applications under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 for the release of documents regarding a permit application.

Publications

Under section 33 of the Act particulars of all applications, permits and variations to them were published in the Commonwealth of Australia Government Notices Gazette. Hazardous Waste Act Information Paper No 2, which industry is using to distinguish wastes from non-wastes under the Act, was updated and will be published early in 2001-02. An update of Hazardous Waste Act Information Paper No 3 was published. This information paper provides a resource for people and organisations concerned with the export or import of hazardous waste and contains step-by-step instructions on applying for a permit.

A supplement to Hazardous Waste Act Information Paper No 5 containing revised concentration cut-off levels for arsenic, lead, mercury and selenium was prepared. The paper on the hazard status of zinc and copper ash, dross and residues was updated to reflect the new concentration cut-off levels.

Export Permits Granted By The Minister For The Environment And Heritage 2000-01

Applicant Quantity (tonnes) Period of permit Type of waste, disposal operation and destination

TREDI Australia Pty Ltd
50
01.08.00 - 31.05.01
Nickel-cadmium batteries from New SouthWales for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at SNAM Viviez, France.

Exide Australia Pty Ltd
15
07.09.00 - 06.08.01
Wet used lead-acid batteries and lead scrap from Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne or Perth for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Exide New Zealand,
Wainone Street, Petone, New Zealand.

Lewer Corporation Pty Ltd
150
27.09.00 - 02.09.01
Tin ashes and residues from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia for recycling/reclamation of metals at Hydrometal SA, Engis, Belgium.

SAFT NIFE Power Systems
200
16.10.00 - 31.07.00
Nickel-cadmium batteries from New South Australia Pty Ltd Wales for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Saft Nife AB, S-57201 Oskarshamn, Sweden.
Pasminco Ltd
60
30.11.00 - 30.09.01
Paragoethite residues from South Africa for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Pasminco Port Pirie Smelter, Ellen Street, Port Pirie, South Australia.

PWT Australasia Pty Ltd
100
05.12.00 - 15.10.01
Solder dross from Victoria for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Hydrometal S.A, Zoning Industriel D'Ehein, 8-4490 Engis, Belgium.
Caltex Refineries (Qld) Ltd
80
21.02.01 -31.01.02
Leaded antiknock sludge from Queensland for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Associated Octel Co Ltd, Oil Sites Road, Ellemere Port, Chester CH 65, 4HF, United Kingdom.
A-dec Trading Company Inc
5
25.03.01 - 31.10.01
Amalgam from various dental offices around Australia for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at METASYS
Umwelttechnik GmbH, Florianistrasse 3, A-6063 Rum, Austria.
Mount Isa Mines Ltd
7500
23.05.01 - 31.08.01
Lead dross from Queensland for recycling/ reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Union Miniere, Hoboken, Belgium.
Mobil Refining Australia
60
29.06.01 - 19.04.02
Leaded antiknock sludge from Victoria for Pty Ltd recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Associated Octel Co Ltd, Oil Sites Road, Ellemere Port, Chester CH 65, 4HF, United Kingdom.

Import Permits Granted By The Minister For The Environment And Heritage 2000-01

Applicant Quantity (tonnes) Period of permit Type of waste, disposal operation and destination
Intercontinental Metals
250
04.07.00 - 16.04.01
Brass ashes and residues from New Zealand Pty Ltd for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Intercontinental Metals Pty Ltd, 28 Scarfe Street, Burnie, Tasmania.
Beaufort Shipping Agency Company
150 &
15 000 litres
22.09.00 - 22.09.01
Household wastes from the French Dumont D'Urville Station in Antarctica to Tasmania for deep burial at McRobies Gully landfill, Hobart, for recycling of glass, cans and waste oils, and for incineration of high risk items at the Hobart Marine Board incinerator.
Pasminco Ltd
60
30.11.00 - 30.09.01
Paragoethite residues from South Africa for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Pasminco Port Pirie Smelter, Ellen Street, Port Pirie, South Australia.
Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd
600
18.12.00 - 18.12.01
Zinc ashes and residues from Malaysia for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd, Lot 2, Shellharbour Road, Port Kembla, New South Wales.
Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd
600
18.12.00 - 18.12.01
Zinc ashes and residues from Viet Nam for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd, Lot 2, Shellharbour Road, Port Kembla, New South Wales.
Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd
600
18.12.00 - 18.12.01
Zinc ashes and residues from Indonesia for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd, Lot 2, Shellharbour Road, Port Kembla, New South Wales.
Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd
600
18.12.00 - 18.12.01
Zinc ashes and residues from the Philippines for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd, Lot 2, Shellharbour Road, Port Kembla, New South Wales.
HydroMet Corporation Ltd
600
11.01.01 - 01.12.01
Selenium sludge from Norway for recycling/ reclamation of metals and metal compounds at MinMet Operations Pty Ltd, 25 School Drive, Tomago, New South Wales.
Pasminco Metals Pty Ltd
350
29.01.01 - 31.12.01
Zinc ashes and residues from MCK Metals, New Plymouth, New Zealand for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Pasminco Cockle Smelter, Boolaroo, New South Wales.
Sims Aluminium Pty Ltd
1200
19.06.01 - 19.06.02
Aluminium ashes and residues from Sims Pacific, James Fletcher Drive, Otahuhu, Auckland, New Zealand for recycling/ reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Sims Aluminium Pty Ltd, 42-46 Charles Street, St Marys, New South Wales.

Applications Received But Not Resolved By The Minister For The Environment And Heritage 2000-01

Applicant Quantity (tonnes) Date received and status Type of waste, disposal operation and destination
Plastral Fidene Pty Ltd
2.858
30.03.00
Processing
Diethylaluminium chloride / heptane mixture for disposal by high temperature incineration and landfill at Bovar Waste Management, Swan Hills Treatment Centre, Swan Hills, Alberta, Canada.
Basell Australia Pty Ltd
12.4
15.02.01
Processing
Non-halogenated solvents from Victoria for disposal by operations D14 (Repackaging prior to submission to another operation), D10 (Incineration on land) and D5, specially engineered landfill at AVR CHEMIE B.V. Prof. Gerbrandyweg 10, NL - 3197 KK, Rotterdam - Botlek, The Netherlands.
HydroMet Corporation Ltd
250
16.02.01
Processing
Precious metal concentrates for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Union Miniere, A. Greinerstraat 14 B-2660, Hoboken, Belgium.`
Beaver Metals Pty Ltd
250
19.03.01
Processing
Brass dross/skimmings for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Metallic Extractors, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Intercontinental Metals Pty Ltd
250
12.06.01
Processing
Brass ashes and residues from New Zealand for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Intercontinental Metals Pty Ltd, 28 Scarfe Street, Burnie, Tasmania.
Caltex Refineries (Qld) Ltd
60
29.05.01
Processing
Leaded antiknock sludge from New South Wales for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Associated Octel Co Ltd, Oil Sites Road, Ellemere Port, Chester CH 65, 4HF, United Kingdom.
Tomago Aluminium Pty Ltd
8.2
05.06.01
Processing
Spent pot linings containing cyanides from Company New South Wales for recycling/reclamation of organic substances not used as solvents and of metals and metal compounds, at SELCA S.p.A, 22 Via Milano, Pisogne (Bs) 25055, Italy.

Applications Refused By The Minister For The Environment And Heritage 2000-01

Applicant Quantity (tonnes) Date refused Type of waste, disposal operation and destination
Pasminco Metals Pty Ltd
25
13.07.00
Zinc oxide baghouse dust from A W Fraser, Christchurch, New Zealand for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Pasminco Cockle Creek Smelter, Main Road Boolaroo, New South Wales.

Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd
600
28.07.00
Zinc ashes and residues from Malaysia for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd, Lot 2, Shellharbour Road, Port Kembla, New South Wales.
Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd
600
28.07.00
Zinc ashes and residues from Viet Nam for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd, Lot 2, Shellharbour Road, Port Kembla, New South Wales.
Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd
600
28.07.00
Zinc ashes and residues from Indonesia for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd, Lot 2, Shellharbour Road, Port Kembla, New South Wales.
Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd
600
28.07.00
Zinc ashes and residues from the Philippines for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd, Lot 2, Shellharbour Road, Port Kembla, New South Wales.
Beaver Metals Pty Ltd
250
18.04.01
Brass dross/skimmings from New South Wales for recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds at Metallic Extractors, Marsh Lane, Water Orton, Birmingham B46 INS, United Kingdom.