Commonwealth legislation

About the legislation

Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989

The Commonwealth Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 (the Act) controls the manufacture, import and export of all ozone depleting substances (ODSs) and their synthetic greenhouse gas (SGG) replacements. It also controls imports of equipment containing either ODS or SGGs and grants the Commonwealth the power to create a nationally consistent system to control the end uses of these harmful gases.

The Act puts in to practice Australia's international commitments under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (the Montreal Protocol). Find out more:

The manufacture, import and export of all these substances is prohibited in Australia unless the correct licence is held. Under the Act all licences to import or export ODS carry a condition that the licensee must only import or export the substance from a country that has ratified the Montreal Protocol and the relevant subsequent Amendments. To help facilitate this, the Minister must maintain a Register of Montreal Protocol Countries and the substances for which those countries are to be treated as a Montreal Protocol country.

Acts

Regulations

The Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulation 1995 contains controls relating to: import, export and manufacture licensing; manufacture and disposal of scheduled substances; refrigeration and air-conditioning; methyl bromide; and fire protection; and import and export of any products and equipment containing hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.

Act amendments

2014 proposed Repeal Day amendments

The Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989, the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) Act 1995, and the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Manufacture Levy) Act 1995 will be amended by the Omnibus Repeal Day (Autumn 2014) Bill 2014.

The amendments will:

  • Allow regulations to be made to exempt low volume importers from the requirement of holding an ODS/SGG equipment licence. Until the regulations are made importers should comply with the current ODS/SGG equipment licence requirements. Further information on current licence requirements
  • Narrow the scope of the current HCFC and CFC refrigeration and air conditioning ban. When the amendments come into force, the ban will cover HCFC or CFC that operates using only these gases. Further information on the current ban.
  • Ensure that heel, the gas left in bulk cylinders once they have been decanted, can be considered in calculating HCFC quota and levies to be paid under the Acts.
  • Move the requirement to provide quarterly reports where no imports have been made from licence conditions to the Act. The detailed requirements for these reports will be set out in the regulations. Until the regulations are made, reporting should comply with the current reporting requirements
  • Simplify the process of surrendering an import, manufacture or export licence.
  • Amend the ozone depleting potentials listed in the Act for dibromofluoromethane and methyl bromide to align with the Montreal Protocol.

Further information

2013 proposed amendments

On 13 November 2013 the Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 was introduced to the House of Representatives. This Bill, the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) Amendment Bill 2013, the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Manufacture Levy) Amendment Bill 2013, and the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) (Transitional Provisions) Bill repeal the equivalent carbon tax from 1 July 2014 and provide a limited exemption for bulk importers of SGGs if certain conditions are met.

The equivalent carbon tax on the importation or manufacture of SGGs prior to 1 July 2014 will need to be paid in full. Reporting and compliance for 2013-14 should be completed as required by the Ozone Acts. Further information on reporting requirements

The equivalent carbon price export refund program will continue to apply for 18 months after the equivalent carbon price legislation is repealed. Further information on the export refund scheme

Further information

2011 amendment to the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989

In 2011, the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989, the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) Act 1995, and the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Manufacture Levy) Act 1995 were amended by the Clean Energy (Consequential Amendments) Act 2011.

The Clean Energy (Consequential Amendments) Act 2011 amended the Act by:

  • Increasing the coverage of the Act to include sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), a SGG;
  • Change the name of the pre-charged equipment licence to the ODS/SGG licence;
  • Applying an equivalent carbon tax to the import and manufacture of SGGs using the existing levy structure in the Act.

Further information on these changes.

2010 amendment to the Ozone Protection Act 1989

In December 2010, the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Amendment Act 2010 (the Amendment Act) was passed by the Australian Parliament. The Amendment Act improves the operations of the Act by:

  • Modernising the offence provisions of the Ozone Protection Act through the creation of mirror civil penalty provisions for the existing criminal offences. This allows minor breaches of the Act to be dealt with through civil penalties rather than criminal prosecution or suspending or cancelling a licence, which would be a more reasonable response given the lesser severity of the offence.
  • Updating the powers, requirements and obligations of inspectors to reflect current practices and technologies. In particular, the amendments provide for inspectors to be assisted in carrying out offence related searches and seizures. This is particularly important where technical specialists are required. These changes do not expand the power of inspectors or confer independent powers on any other person.
  • Clarifying the purposes of the Ozone Protection and SGG (Synthetic Greenhouse Gas) Account (the Account) which is a Special Account established by the Act, to support the development of evidence-based policy by specifically allowing research to be funded from the Account.
  • Providing for the existing ban on air conditioning equipment containing hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), currently imposed under import licence conditions, to be extended to the import and manufacture of HCFC refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. Certain types of equipment have been exempted from the HCFC ban through the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulation Amendments 2011.
  • Making other technical and administrative amendments which streamline the licensing system and reduce costs for industry. For example, setting a two year licence period for Pre-Charged Equipment Licences.

2003 amendment to the Ozone Protection Act 1989

In December 2003, the Australian Parliament passed the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Legislation Amendment Bill 2003. This Bill amended the Ozone Protection Act 1989, now called the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989, and extended its scope in three significant areas. The amended Act:

  • Incorporates synthetic greenhouse gases used as replacements for ozone depleting substances into the import, export and manufacturing licence system, but without any quotas or phase outs.
  • Empowers the Australian Government to develop national end-use controls on the purchase, sale, handling and disposal of these gases, replacing current state and territory requirements.
  • Allows the Australian Government to implement the Beijing Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, banning the import and manufacture of bromochloromethane, and banning trade in certain ODS with Non-protocol countries.

Regulations developed under the Commonwealth Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 replaced State and Territory ozone protection legislation. You should contact your State or Territory environment protection agency to confirm the ongoing regulatory requirements for ODS and SGGs.

Frequently asked questions

What substances are controlled by the Act?

What industries are affected by the Act?