Proposed regulations to manage ozone depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases used in the fire protection industry
Department of the Environment and Heritage, January 2004
About this document
On the 5th of June 2003 the Australian Government introduced a bill into the Parliament to amend the Ozone Protection Act 1989 (OPA). The Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Legislation Amendment Bill 2003, which was passed by the Australian Parliament in December 2003, extends the scope of the previous legislation to:
- incorporate synthetic greenhouse gases (SGG) used as replacements for ozone depleting substances (ODS) into the import, export and manufacturing licence system, but without any quotas or phase-outs;
- develop and implement nationally consistent end use controls¹ on purchase, sale, handling and disposal of ODS and SGG; and
- implement international commitments to ban the import and manufacture of a new ODS and ban the trade of some ODS with countries that are not parties to the Montreal Protocol or its instruments.
¹ End use refers primarily to the technician who uses the substances in the marketplace for activities involved in the installation, maintenance and decommissioning of equipment.
The legislation amends and renames the Ozone Protection Act 1989 to the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989. The regulations developed under the amended legislation - such as those proposed in this paper - will replace sections of State and Territory ozone protection legislation.
The new legislation establishes a comprehensive and nationally consistent approach to the management of ODS and SGG, with an underlying aim to minimise preventable emissions of ODS and SGG. The legislation does not propose to ban or phase out SGG, but to introduce regulation to require mandatory application of standards and effective handling techniques and to limit direct emissions of SGG and ODS unless exemptions have been provided for, either within the regulations or through permits. The scope of the legislation does not include uses of SGG outside the traditional Montreal Protocol industry sectors - fire protection, refrigeration and air-conditioning, solvents, foam blowing, aerosols and fumigation.
The Australian Government will maintain direct responsibility for the operation of the manufacture, import and export licensing system for both ODS and SGG and will consider establishing or empowering an industry body to operate as an 'agent of the Australian Government'. This body would be strictly bound by a contractual agreement that sets out the roles and responsibilities for this body and the Government in relation to the regulation of ozone depleting and synthetic greenhouse gas vapourising liquid fire extinguishing agents in the fire protection industry.
An independent review procedure, based on an Advisory Council with input from all industry sectors, might also be established to provide advice to Government on the operation of end use regulations and industry performance and to consider stakeholder comments. This paper describes proposals for these delivery structures, as well as proposals relating to the specific regulations on who can handle ODS and SGG fire protection agents.
The purpose of this paper is to consider issues and to provide a forum for industry and other stakeholders to make proposals regarding the regulations. You are encouraged to provide comments. Comments need to be received by 5:00 pm Friday 20 February 2004 to ensure that they are considered. Responses to this discussion paper will provide the basis for the preparation of end use regulations, which will be circulated for stakeholder comment in late March or April.
Written submissions in either electronic or hard copy, are required. Comments should be addressed to:
Ozone and Synthetic Gas Team
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601