Essential Uses Licences

In accordance with Australia's obligations under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (the Protocol), the import, export and manufacture of certain ozone depleting substances (ODSs) have been banned under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 (the Act) since 1996 except for a small range of essential uses.

An essential uses licence may be granted under the Act for the import, export or manufacture of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), halons, CH3CCl3(Methyl chloroform), CCl4(Carbon tetrachloride) and bromochloromethane (BCM) for uses which meet a very limited range of essential use criteria, including laboratory and analytical uses. Annex IV of the 7th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol outlines the categories and examples of laboratory and analytical uses. Essential uses licences are subject to quantitative restrictions and reporting requirements.

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How to apply - application fee

Applications should be lodged as early as possible, prior to the proposed goods being imported, exported or manufactured.

Normally, the department will aim to process applications within 2 weeks of receiving a fully completed application form that includes all supporting documentation and payment of the licence fee. However, the statutory timeframes of the Act stipulates that the department may take up to 60 days to process an application. You will need to keep the full 60 day processing time in mind when applying for a licence, as processing times do vary.

Application fee

A non-refundable licence application fee of $3,000 is payable with the application unless a waiver has been granted. There is no provision in the Act or the Regulations that gives the Minister or his/her delegate the power to refund the licence application fee.

Please note: this includes situations where an applicant has lodged a licence application and then no longer requires a licence.

The Minister may waive the application fee for an essential uses licence if the Minister is satisfied that the manufacture, import or export of the scheduled substance to which the licence relates is for test purposes.

Online application form

Essential Uses Licence application form

In granting a licence, the Minister will consider whether the applicant's proposed use of the ODS conforms with Australia's obligations under the Protocol, whether the proposed use falls under the categories in Annex IV, whether the applicant is a fit and proper person and whether a viable alternative exists in the market. Section 16 of the Act lists matters which the Minister shall have regard to in making this decision. The Minister may also consider other matters.

Viable alternatives exist for many ozone depleting substances used for analytical and laboratory uses and potential applicants are encouraged to consider possible alternatives wherever possible.

In regard to conformance with Australia's international obligations, for all essential uses other than those that are for laboratory and analytical uses, the Australian Government must obtain an Essential Use Authorisation (EUA) from a Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol prior to granting a licence to import any quantity of the ODS.

For further information on the nature of the information the Australian Government must provide in order to obtain an EUA and the annual deadline for submitting such a request to a Meeting of the Parties, please refer to the handbook below.

An essential uses licence comes into force on the day specified in it and stays in force until the end of the licence period in which it is granted, or any shorter period specified in it, unless it is cancelled or stops being in force for any other reason, before then.

The current licensing period commenced on 1 January 2012 and ends on 31 December 2013.

Required information and supporting documentation

When applying for a licence or exemption under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989, you will be required to provide supporting documentation and detailed information about yourself and your organisation (if applicable), as well as information about the proposed activity (e.g. import, export or manufacture of ODS).

A summary of the information that you will need to complete the application form, along with a list of supporting documentation you must submit with your application, is provided below.

Summary information about Essential Uses Licences

Apply for this licence if you wish to import, export or manufacture small quantities of Carbon Tetrachloride (CCl4), Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Halons, Methyl Chloroform (CH3CCl3) and Bromochloromethane (BCM) for essential uses, as specified under the categories in Annex IV of the 7th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol.

Please note: unless you are applying for a waiver of the application fee, assessment of applications will not commence until the full application fee of $3,000 is received by the department. Application fees are non-refundable. There is no provision in the Act nor the Regulations that gives the Minister or his delegate the power to refund the licence fee paid as part of a licence application that an applicant subsequently does not require.

For more information about the Essential Uses Licence and the criteria upon which the Minister may waive the application fee, please refer to How to Apply above.

You will need the following information on hand to fill the application form

  • Personal/Company details – the legally recognised name of the entity applying for the licence. In the case of organisations, the legal name must match the name registered on the Australian Business Register website
  • The current ABN (if an organisation)
  • Street and Postal Address
  • The name and contact details of the applicant (if an individual) or authorised person (if an organisation) signing the application form
  • The name and contact details of a contact person who will be responsible for submitting reports to the department on a quarterly basis
  • The name and contact details of a contact person who will be responsible for handling accounts enquiries from the department.
  • Details about the proposed activity (import, export or manufacture), including:
    • Substance type (Carbon Tetrachloride, CFC, etc)
    • The amount of each substance proposed to be imported/exported (in grams)
    • End-use of the proposed activity including efforts made in transitioning to alternative, non-Ozone Depleting Substances.
    • Country of origin or country of destination
  • If you answer YES to any of the questions under the Suitability Questionnaire you will need to provide details outlining the circumstances under which the event(s) occurred.

Required supporting documentation to accompany the application form

  • A copy of the Certified Identification of the person signing the application form (for organisations, the person signing the application form must be the director or someone in the organisation who has the authority to sign on behalf of the director(s). Please refer to the list of people able to certify documents in the Statutory Declaration Regulations 1993).
  • If a TRUST, a copy of the deed confirming person signing the application has the authority to sign on behalf of other trustees.
  • If a PARTNERSHIP, you must supply a document that shows authority to sign and submit this licence application on behalf of the other partners.
  • Customs import/export documentation (if available)
  • Documentation confirming that the proposed activity meets the “essential use criteria” outlined in Annex IV of the 7th meeting of the parties to the Montreal Protocol; and
  • Supporting documentation (e.g. extracts from relevant scientific literature/journals) confirming that there are no alternative/viable substances in the market.
  • If you are applying for a fee waiver – supporting documentary evidence that the import/export is for test purposes.

Who can use the licence

It is a condition of all licences that the licensee does not allow another person or business to use their licence number.

Quarterly reporting requirements

Holders of Essential Uses Licences are required to provide quarterly reports to the Minister based on the quantity of substances imported and the use to which the substances are put.

If no imports or exports were made during a reporting period, a 'nil' report is still required.

Reports may be lodged at any time before 11.59 pm on the 14th day following the end of each reporting period (including at any time during the relevant reporting period).

Reporting Period Reports Due
1 January – 31 March 14 April
1 April – 30 June 14 July
1 July – 30 September 14 October
1 October – 31 December 14 January

NOTE: if the last day of the reporting period falls on a weekend or public holiday, the report is due by 11.59 pm on the next business/working day.

Online reporting form

Essential Uses quarterly report form

The department cross-checks information provided on quarterly reports with data provided by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. Inaccurate reporting and late submissions are offences under the Act.

If you have any questions about reporting you may contact the Reporting Officer on +61 2 6274 1373.

Updating contact details

If you want to change the nominated contact details please use our online request form:

Contact for more information

For more information please contact the Import Operations Section on:
Phone: +61 2 6274 1373