Used Substances Licences

The import and export of used or recycled Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Halons, Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), Methyl chloroform (C2H3Cl3), Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), Hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs) Methyl Bromide (CH3Br) and Bromochlorometahne (CH2BrCl) is prohibited under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 (the Act), unless the person holds a used substances licence that allows the person to do so.

Important notice: Please note that the movement of used Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) between countries may trigger the Basel Convention, implemented in Australia through the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Imports and Exports) Act 1989. Australia deems that ODS are specifically managed under the Ozone Act so action under the Hazardous Waste Act is not required, unless the other participating country invokes the Basel Convention. France, for example, considers that the movement of ODS trigger the Basel Convention. Other countries, such as the United States, are not party to the Basel Convention but may have their own specific requirements for movement of hazardous substances. You may be required to apply for a licence under the Hazardous Waste Act when applying for a Used Substances Licence if the import or export country invokes the Basel Convention. For further information please refer to:

Important Notice: Applications for a Used Substances Licence for the purpose of import for domestic reuse will generally not be granted. The department has recently formalised it's policy on used Ozone Depleting Substances, please see the following link for the full policy document:

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How to apply - application fee

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

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 fee. However, the statutory timeframes of the Act stipulates that department may take up to 60 days to process an application.

Used Substances Licence application form

In granting a licence, the Minister will consider whether the applicant is a fit and proper person. Section 16 of the Act lists matters the Minister must consider when making this decision.

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

The current licence period commenced on 1 January 2012 and ends on 31 December 2013.

Application fee

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

The Minister may waive the licence fee for a used substances licence if:

  • The scheduled substance to which the licence relates will be imported or exported for the purpose of the disposal of the substance; and
  • The disposal will be carried out by a technology approved by the parties of the Montreal Protocol.

Required information and supporting documentation

When applying for a licence or exemption under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 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, along with a list of supporting documentation you must submit with your application is provided below.

Summary information about Used Substances Licence

Apply for this licence if you wish to import or export used or recycled Halons, Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), Carbon Tetrachloride (CCl4) and Methyl Chloroform (CH3CCl3).

Important Notice: Applications for a Used Substances Licence for the purpose of import for domestic reuse will generally not be granted as import for this purpose is not in line with the intent of the import licensing provisions of the Ozone and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989, as per paragraphs 24 and 25 of the Explanatory Memorandum for the 2003 Act amendments. The department has recently formalised it's policy on used ODS, please see the following link for the full policy document:

Please also note that unless you are applying for a waiver of the application fee, assessment of applications will not commence until the full, cleared payment of 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.

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 a the applicant (if an individual) or authorised person (if an organisation) signing the application form
  • The name and contact details of a contact person who will be responsible for submitting reports to the department on a quarterly basis.
  • The name and contact details of a contact person who will be responsible for handling accounts enquiries from the department.
  • Details about the proposed activity (import, export), including:
    • Substance proposed to be imported and/or exported
    • Substance condition (recycled or used, not recycled)
    • Country of origin and/or country of destination
    • Purpose (end-use), e.g. destruction in the country of destination, etc
    • Substance quantity in metric tonnes (Mt)
    • If importing used or recycled ODS – details about the destruction or recycling facility and technology in Australia, including reason why the proposed substance could not be sourced in Australia, and the financial arrangements that demonstrates how the destruction of the used ODS will be funded.
    • If exporting used or recycled ODS - details about the destruction or recycling facility and technology in the destination country, including reason why the proposed substance(s) could not be destroyed or recycled in Australia.
    • If importing and exporting (following recycling) – details encompassing both points outlined above.

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 Certified Identification 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). Please refer to the list of people able to certify documents in the Statutory Declaration Regulations 1993).
  • 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.
  • Documentation confirming membership with an approved Product Stewardship Scheme, currently Refrigerant Reclaim Australia (RRA) (only required for imports of used or recycled ODS)
  • If applying for a USL for the purpose of import used HCFCs for reuse in Australia – provide supporting documentation to substantiate the import meets the exceptional circumstances criteria. The department considers the following circumstances as exceptional circumstances:
    1. It is necessary for health, safety or is critical for the functioning of society (encompassing cultural and intellectual aspects); and
    2. There are no available technically and economically feasible alternatives or substitutes that are acceptable from the standpoint of environment and health; and
    3. It is demonstrated to the department that all economically feasible steps will be taken to minimise the essential use and any associated emission of the controlled substances (where relevant): and
    4. The controlled substance is not available in sufficient quantity and quality from existing stocks of banked or recycled controlled substances, also bearing in mind the developing countries’ need for controlled substances.
  • If importing used ODS for destruction, for recycle and re-export, or for recycle and reuse in Australia (if the import meets the exceptional circumstances criteria):
    • evidence confirming that the ODS officer (or second in command to the ODS officer) from the country’s National Ozone Unit (NOU) has approved the export of the used ODS, and that there will be no impacts on the exporting country’s phase out schedule.
    • evidence that demonstrates that the substances being imported are in fact “used” and have not come from illegal trade.
    • evidence that the destruction facility or plant is fit for purpose and it has been accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA).
    • evidence to demonstrate that the proposed destruction/recycling technology is in the list of approved destruction processes; and that the technology operates in accordance with the Code of Good Housekeeping as specified in Annexes II and III, respectively, in the Report to the Fifteenth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, 11 November 2003
    • evidence confirming appropriate financial arrangements are in place to fund the destruction/recycling of the used substance(s) proposed to be imported into Australia
  • If you are applying for a fee waiver – supporting documentation confirming that the exemption will be used for the import of a product is for its disposal (you must include the details of the destruction facility).

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.

Quarterly reporting requirements

Holders of a used substances licence are required to provide quarterly reports to the Minister on the following, including the use to which the substances are put:

  • The type and quantity of substances imported, including country of origin
  • the type and quantity of substances exported, including country of destination, and
  • the quantity of substances manufactured, recycled or destroyed.

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

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

Reporting Period Reports Due
1 January – 31 March 15 April
1 April – 30 June 15 July
1 July – 30 September 15 October
1 October – 31 December 15 January

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 may contact the Reporting Officer on +61 2 6274 1373.

Updating contact details

If you want to change the nominated contact details please use our online request form:

Contact for more information

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