HCFC (Hydrochlorofluorocarbon) Controlled Substances Licence

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are ozone depleting substances (ODS). They are being phased out globally under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Australia has adopted an accelerated phase-out of HCFCs under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 (the Act). Australia’s phase-out schedule is provided below. The phase-out schedule is implemented by allocating HCFC importers and manufacturers a limited quota.

  • A HCFC Controlled Substances Licence, including HCFC quota, is required to import, export or manufacture any amount of new HCFCs that are not contained in products or equipment.
  • A Used Substances Licence is required to import or export used HCFCs.
  • An ODS Equipment Licence is required to import refrigeration and air conditioning equipment containing a HCFC. Import of HCFC equipment is only permitted in very limited circumstances.

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How to apply - HCFC quota, application fee

If you are applying to import, manufacture or export HCFCs AND Synthetic Greenhouse Gases (HFCs, PFCs and/or SF6) you need to apply separately for a Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Controlled Substance Licence.

HCFC quota

You must have sufficient HCFC quota to import or manufacture HCFCs. The application form for the HCFC Controlled Substance Licence also contains an application for HCFC quota. The maximum amount of quota that can be allocated is determined by the annual HCFC industry limit and the individual use of quota in the first year of the previous licence period.

The HCFC quota for the current licence period has been fully allocated. To obtain quota you would need to arrange a transfer of HCFC quota from another licence holder (see below).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you are thinking of applying for a HCFC Controlled Substance Licence and have not previously held a HCFC Controlled Substance Licence or cannot arrange a HCFC quota transfer from another licence holder, we strongly encourage you to call the Import Operations Team on +61 2 6274 1373 before applying.

The application fee is not refundable. The Minister or his delegate has no power under the Act or Regulations to refund a licence application fee, should the applicant decide the licence is not required.

Application fee

A non-refundable application fee of $15,000 is payable on application unless a waiver has been granted.

The Minister may waive the application fee for a Controlled Substances Licence if:

  • the licence is applied for to allow the manufacture, import or export of less than half a tonne of a scheduled substance; and
  • the Minister is satisfied that the import, export or manufacture is for test purposes; or
  • the HCFC will be imported or exported for the purpose of disposal using a Montreal Protocol approved destruction technology.

Granting a licence

Normally, the Department will aim to process applications within 2 weeks of receiving a fully completed application form including all supporting documentation and payment of the licence application fee. However, the statutory timeframes of the Act stipulates the Department may take up to 60 days to process an application.

Applications should be lodged as early as possible, prior to the proposed goods being imported or exported.

In granting a licence, the Minister will consider whether the applicant is a fit and proper person. Section 16 of the Act lists matters to which the Minister may have regard in making this decision.

Applicants will receive an email notifying them of the outcome of their application and (if successful), a copy of their Licence and Quota instruments will be attached.

A controlled substances licence for HCFCs comes into force on the day specified on it and stays in force until the end of the licence period in which it is granted, unless it is cancelled or stops being in force for any other reason.

The current licensing period commenced on 1 January 2014 and ends on 31 December 2015.

For further information please contact the Licensing Officer on +61 2 6274 1373 or ozone@environment.gov.au.

Required information and supporting documentation

When applying for a licence or exemption under the Act, you will be required to provide supporting documentation and detailed information about yourself and your organisation (if applicable), as well as information about the proposed activity (e.g. import, export or manufacture of ODS).

A summary of the information that you will need to complete the application form, and a list of supporting documentation you must submit with your application is provided below.

Summary information about Controlled Substances Licences for HCFCs

Apply for this licence if you wish to import, export or manufacture Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: HCFC quota is required to import or manufacture HCFCs. You should only apply for a Controlled Substances Licence (CSL) for HCFCs if:

  1. You are a current holder of a CSL for HCFCs and you have been allocated HCFC quota for the current licence period;

or

  1. You have identified an existing Quota holder who has agreed to transfer HCFC quota or part of a HCFC quota to you if you are granted a CSL for HCFCs . (You will be required to provide the name or the licence number of the licensee who has agreed to transfer HCFC quota to you).

If you do not satisfy one of the two categories above, DO NOT submit the application or pay the non-refundable application fee. Please contact the Licensing Officer on +61 2 6274 1373 if you require further clarification.

If one of the two categories above is applicable to you, you may proceed with your application. Please note that unless you are applying for a waiver of the application fee, assessment of applications will not commence until the full application fee of $15,000 is received by the department. Application fees are non-refundable. There is no provision in the Act nor the Regulations that gives the Minister or his delegate the power to refund the licence fee paid as part of a licence application that an applicant subsequently does not require.

More information about the CSL for HCFCs and HCFC quota, and the criteria upon which the Minister may waive the application fee, please refer to:

You will need the following information on hand to fill the application form
  • Personal/Company details – the legally recognised name of the entity applying for the licence. In the case of organisations, the legal name must match the name registered on the Australian Business Register website
  • The current ABN (if an organisation)
  • Street and Postal Address
  • The name and contact details of the applicant (if an individual) or authorised person (if an organisation) signing the application form
  • The name and contact details of a contact person that will be responsible for submitting reports to the department on a quarterly basis
  • Details about the proposed activity (import, export or manufacture of HCFCs), including country of origin or country of destination
  • If you are an existing licensee with allocated HCFC quota for the current period – provide your licence number and the total quantity (in Ozone Depleting Potential tonnes) of HCFCs imported or manufactured during the current licence period (you may need to refer to quarterly reports you submitted to department throughout the current licence period)
  • If HCFC quota is being transferred to you - provide the name or the licence number of the licensee who has agreed to transfer HCFC quota to you. An officer of the Department will contact the current quota holder to confirm the amount of quota being transferred to you.
  • If you answer YES to any of the questions under the Suitability Questionnaire you will need to provide details outlining the circumstances under which the event(s) occurred.
Required supporting documentation to accompany the application form
  • A copy of the certified1 ID of the person signing the application form (for organisations, the person signing the application form must be the director or someone in the organisation who has the authority to sign on behalf of the director(s)).
  • Documentation confirming membership with an approved Product Stewardship Scheme, currently Refrigerant Reclaim Australia (RRA)
  • If a TRUST, a copy of the deed confirming person signing the application has the authority to sign on behalf of other trustees.
  • If a PARTNERSHIP, you must supply a document that shows authority to sign and submit this licence application on behalf of the other partners.
  • If you are applying for a fee waiver – supporting documentary evidence that the import/export is for test purposes and the amount is less than ½ tonne.

Who can use the licence

It is a condition of all licences that the licensee does not allow another person or business to use their licence number.

Transferring HCFC quota

The HCFC quota for the current licence period has been fully allocated. However, if you can identify a current quota holder who wishes to transfer their total quota, or part of their quota to you, an application to transfer quota can be made under section 35 of the Act.

The recipient of the quota must be a holder of a HCFC Controlled Substances Licence. If you are not a current holder of a HCFC Controlled Substances Licence, you will be required to apply and pay the $15,000 non-refundable licence application fee before the transfer of quota can occur.

If you applied, and have been granted a HCFC Controlled Substances Licence, and you have identified a quota holder who is willing to transfer their total HCFC quota, or part of their quota to you, the current holder of HCFC quota (Transferor) will be required to submit an application to the Minister to transfer quota.

Transferring a quota forms

Note: the current holder of a HCFC quota is required to submit the application online then sign and post the original Quota Declaration to meet the requirements for original signatures in the quota transfer process.

Quarterly reporting and levy requirements

Holders of a controlled substances licence for HCFCs are required to provide quarterly reports to the Minister showing the type and quantity of HCFCs manufactured, imported, and/or exported. Licensees then need to pay a levy based on the quantity of substances imported (or manufactured should this commence in Australia).

The Manufacture/Import levy is a cost recovery or "prescribed rate" levy of $3000 per ozone depleting potential (ODP) tonne for HCFCs imported or manufactured.

Reports may be lodged at any time before the 15th day following the end of each quarter (including at any time during the relevant quarter).

If no imports or exports were made during a reporting period, a 'nil' report is still required.

The Import/Manufacture levy is payable by the 60th calendar day following the end of the current reporting period (see table below).

Reporting Period Reports Due Levy payment due by
1 January – 31 March 15 April 30 May
1 April – 30 June 15 July 29 August
1 July – 30 September 15 October 29 November
1 October – 31 December 15 January 1 March

The department cross-checks information provided on quarterly reports with data provided by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. Inaccurate reporting and late submissions are offences under the Act.

If you have any questions about reporting you should contact the Reporting Officer on +61 2 6274 1373.

HCFC Phase-out Schedule

HCFCs are being phased out globally under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

Australia has adopted an accelerated phase-out of HCFCs. The level of permitted imports and manufacture decreases every two years, as specified in the table below.

Year Annual import limit (ODP tonnes*)
2012, 2013 40
2014, 2015 10
2016 – 2029 2.5
2030 0

*1 ODP tonne equates to 9 metric tonnes of HCFC-141b or 18 tonnes of HCFC-22

Further information

Contact for more information

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