Fire protection

New application fees for extinguishing agent handling licences, trading authorisations and halon special permits

Application fees for extinguishing agent handling licences, trading authorisations and halon special permits will increase from 1 January 2014 with indexation.

The indexation of fees will apply annually from 1 January 2014, based on the wage price index published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (Catalog 6345.0). Fee indexation is set out in Regulation 346 of the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995.

Fees for the fire protection licensing scheme had not changed since its inception in 2005 and the initial increase on 1 January 2013 was intended to cover the increase in the cost of administering the licensing scheme over time. The 2013 regulatory changes to fee setting also established a basis for the annual indexation of fees to ensure they continued to cover the costs into the future.

The new fee list for January to December 2014 is as follows:
Permit Type Previous application fee Application fee
from 1 January 2014

Extinguishing Agent Handling Licence (2 years)

$250

$257

Extinguishing Agent Handling Licence (1 year)

$125

$128

Extinguishing Agent Trading Authorisation (2 years)

$420

$431

Halon Special Permit (2 years)

$250

$257

More information

For more information on the fee increases, or on applying for extinguishing agent handling licences or trading authorisations, or halon special permits, visit the website of the Fire Protection Association Australia at www.fpaa.com.au/ozone/licensing/fees.aspx

National licensing system for the fire protection industry sector

National regulations which support the Australian Government's Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 came into effect on 1 July 2005. The regulations affect those who buy, sell or handle ozone depleting substances or synthetic greenhouse gases.

These regulations do not restrict the use or availability of ozone depleting substances or synthetic greenhouse gas based extinguishing agents. Except for the use of halon there are no plans to restrict, prohibit or withdraw any of the currently available fire extinguishing agents.

Where there are compelling reasons to retain the use of halon an application may be made for a Halon Special Permit.

Persons who handle these substances in bulk or in equipment are required to hold a licence.

Companies or persons who acquire, possess or dispose of these substances are required to hold a Fire Extinguishing Agent Trading Authorisation.

Fire Protection Association Australia

The Fire Protection Association Australia has been appointed as the Industry Board to administer these regulations. More information regarding the new licensing system is available on the Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA) website. Application forms for Extinguishing Agent Handling licences, Extinguishing Agent Trading Authorisations and Halon Special Permits are available from this website.

Fact sheets

A number of fact sheets have been prepared to assist in clarifying specific items related to the operation of the fire protection industry licensing system.

These fact sheets are not intended to be a definitive reference document. Rather they are a plain language guide to a specific topic. The fact sheets can be downloaded from the FPAA website.

Frequently asked questions

Why is the licensing system required?

Under Australian laws to protect the environment, the use of ozone depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases is regulated. The national licensing system enables businesses and technicians to operate throughout Australia using a single licence or authorisation with one set of consistent standards.

How will these regulations affect availability of extinguishing agents?

Under current treaty obligations the import of Ozone Depleting Substances is being reduced. Over time the availability of HCFC fire extinguishing agents will reduce. It is expected that as supply of new product is restricted, the fire protection industry will source extinguishing agents from systems that are being decommissioned or from existing stockpiles. There are no plans to ban or restrict the use of controlled fire extinguishing agents.

Who needs a licence, authorisation and/or permit?

Any person who handles ozone depleting or synthetic greenhouse gas extinguishing agents listed in the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 where there is a risk of emission requires the appropriate national Extinguishing Agent Handling Licence(s). Any technicians who, for example, install or decommission systems are required to have a licence. Working with extinguishing agents in any activity where a discharge of the agent is possible as a consequence of the work being performed requires the appropriate licence and working in this way without a licence is an offence.

Any person or company involved in buying, sorting and/or selling extinguishing agents (other than halon) must hold an Extinguishing Agent Trading Authorisation.

Any person or company possessing halon, other than as provided for in Subregulation 304(4), which is for use in fire protection equipment, must hold a Halon Special Permit.

How do I apply for a licence, authorisation or permit?

Licences, Trading Authorisations and Halon Special Permits are issued by the Fire Protection Industry (ODS & SGG) Board (the Board) on behalf of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. As implementing agency on behalf of the department the scheme is administered by Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA).

How do the regulations improve the performance of the industry?

The Fire Protection Industry Board is managing a competency-based licensing system to ensure that technicians in the industry have the appropriate skills to undertake the installation, maintenance and decommissioning tasks safely with minimal impact on the environment. The competencies have been developed in accordance with the National Training System.