History and achievements - National Halon Bank

History

The enactment of the Ozone Protection Act in 1989 and complimentary legislation by the states and territories gave effect to a national strategy to end the use of halon in Australia. The ownership and use of halon for all but specific essential uses was banned from 1995.

Transport palettes used for shipment of halon fire extinguishers

Transport palettes used for shipment of halon fire extinguishers

In order to cater for the safe disposal of halon, the Commonwealth committed resources in 1992 to establish a National Halon Bank to collect and store surplus halon until it could be safely disposed of. The bank was established in a Government Business Enterprise named the Department of Administrative Services Centre for Environmental Management (DASCEM). Following a decision to dispose of Government Business enterprises in 1997, the NHB was incorporated into the Department of Finance and Administration. DASCEM was taken over in a management buy out and continued to manage the facility under contract to the Commonwealth. The NHB was transferred to the Department of the Environment and Heritage in 1999.

A purpose built facility was established on Commonwealth Property in Tottenham, a Western Suburb of Melbourne. A partnership was established with the Storage and Transport Divisions of the Department of Administrative Services to collect, transport and store fire extinguishers surrendered by the public and businesses.

The cooperation of the state Fire Brigades was obtained and these services have provided a crucial link in the removal of halon from the community. The success of halon collection is in large part due to the assistance and cooperation of the fire brigades.

Collection statistics

National Halon Bank Collection statistics
State/Territory   Halon 1211
(tonnes)
  Halon 1301
(tonnes)
Australian Capital Territory   28.160   19.55
New South Wales   274.78   168.92
Northern Territory   52.85   16.88
Queensland   213.40   66.48
South Australia   123.55   59.56
Tasmania   52.81   34.94
Victoria   419.49   142.35
Western Australia   235.35   100.94
Total   1,375.47   609.8

CFC and other material

The National Halon bank has also collected and destroyed in excess of 100 tonnes of waste refrigerants and disposed of over 5 tonnes of non halon fire extinguishers collected during the halon process.

The NHB has also safely disposed of ozone depleting materials seized under state law or surrendered by their owners at the customs barrier.