Guidance on the importation of gas cylinders

The importation of ozone depleting substances (ODS) and synthetic greenhouse gases (SGG) into Australia is controlled by the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 (the Act).

Generally, a controlled substances licence is required to import hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) or methyl bromide into Australia unless the substance is contained in a manufactured product covered by section 9(1) of the Act.

Section 9(1) of the Act exempts a scheduled substance from the licensing requirements of the Act if it is contained in a manufactured product that uses the substance in its operation or, contains that substance only because it was used in the manufacture of the product.

The Department has been asked a number of questions by industry stakeholders regarding the application of s 9(1) of the Act to cylinders used as a component in a system or device which is intended to disperse the scheduled substance. As a result, the Department has developed a simple test (below) to assess whether such an item is or is not a manufactured product.

The test

QUESTION 1. Does the item contain any of the following substances as specified in Schedule 1 to the Ozone and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989?

  • HFCs
  • PFCs
  • Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)

YES

  • The section 9(1) exemption does not apply and a licence may be required to import this item.

NO

  • Go to Question 2.

QUESTION 2. Is the substance in a manufactured product that:

a. in its operation, will use the substance; or b. consists in part of that substance only because the substance was used in the manufacturing process?

YES

  • The item is exempt for the purposes of section 9(1) and a controlled substances licence is not required.

NO

  • The item is not exempt for the purposes of section 9(1) and a licence may be required to import this item.

UNSURE

  • If you do not know if the item is a 'manufactured product', go to Question 3.

QUESTION 3. Can the intended end user take the item (e.g. gas cylinder), as imported, without modifying it or attaching it to another piece of equipment, and use the item for its intended purpose?

YES

  • The item is considered to be a manufactured product for the purposes of section 9(1) of the Act and a controlled substances licence is not required.

NO

  • The item is not considered a manufactured product for the purposes of section 9(1) of the Act and a licence may be required to import this item.

Examples of items that might pass this test are listed below.

Items considered 'manufactured products' include, but are not restricted to:

  • Aerosol cans of pure HCFC intended for use as cleaning agents in the electronics industry;
  • Hand-held fire extinguishers;
  • Split system airconditioning units;
  • Refrigeration/airconditioning plants (the plant is considered a manufactured product but the cylinders that are attached to it are not);
  • Cork pop devices (similar to a refrigeration/airconditioning plant, the cork pop device is considered a manufactured product but its refill cylinders are not).

Items not considered manufactured products include, but are not restricted to:

  • system cylinders that are attached to a gas manifold (these vary in size, depending on the system they fit on to);
  • cylinders charged with scheduled substances: chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs), halons (halon 1211, 1301 and 2402), carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, bromochloromethane and hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs);
  • Refill cylinders for 'cork pop' devices used for opening wine bottles;
  • Cryogen cylinders used in laser hair removal equipment.

The above examples represent an assessment by the Department of particular products and do not indicate how the test will be applied to products with different characteristics and features.

More information

For more information please contact the Import Licensing Team on:
Phone: +61 2 6274 1373
Email: ozone@environment.gov.au