Halon Essential Use Exemptions

Essential use criteria

ANZECC's 1994 Revised Strategy for Ozone Protection in Australia recommends that continued use, refilling or relocation of existing halon equipment and installation of new halon equipment be restricted to essential uses only. The National Halon Essential Uses Panel will consider proposals for continued use, refilling, relocation or installation of halon fire protection equipment based on assessment against the following essential use criteria:

  1. Essential Use means:
    • that there is a state of danger, imminent or otherwise, to human life (life safety):-
      • in an installation where human occupancy is critical and evacuation is not possible; or
      • where the continued operation of the installation is necessary to protect human life;
    • a fire-caused loss of property or of the function served by an installation, critical to the community, may have far reaching consequences (criticality of hazard); and
    • an acceptable alternative means of fire protection does not exist (non-availability of acceptable alternative protection methods).
  2. In non-essential systems, where the discharge of halon from an existing, fixed, fire suppression system occurs in the course of its normal operational parameters, the Panel may approve system refilling. Such approval will be on condition that the applicant commences planning to replace the existing system with a non-halon system immediately: subsequent applications may not be approved if this condition is not met.
  3. Where Commonwealth product controls are prescribed in the Ozone Protection Act 1989 (the Act), and its Regulations, the Panel will also take into account the Essential Use Criteria specified in Section 40 of the Act.
  4. The applicant(s) will need to demonstrate that a management plan has been, or is being, instigated to minimise any associated emission of halon from uses before the Panel will endorse a particular use as essential.

The National Halon Essential Uses Panel

The National Halon Essential Uses Panel provides advice to the Commonwealth and participating State and Territory environment agencies on the essentiality of proposed halon use in line with the Essential Use Criteria.

You can apply to the National Halon Essential Uses Panel for special approval to maintain your halon system. Essential Use Exemptions are granted only rarely and are based on the need to preserve human life where no alternatives are available.

You can apply to the National Halon Essential Uses Panel for permission to:

  • continue to use, refill, install or relocate portable halon fire extinguishers;
  • continue to use, refill, install or relocate fixed halon fire suppression systems; and
  • importat halon products prohibited under the Commonwealth Ozone Protection Act 1989.


The Panel acts as an advisory board to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and participating State/Territory environment agencies. Its recommendations have no legal status and may be subsequently accepted or rejected by these agencies.

Panel members

The Panel is an expert panel and not purely a representative body. It has four members, comprising representatives nominated by the national fire protection and insurance industries, unions and conservation groups.

Application for exemption