Users of methyl bromide
- Record keeping requirements
- Feedstock users of methyl bromide
- Critical use exemption users
- National Critical Use Strategy
- Quarantine and pre-shipment uses of methyl bromide
- Examples of pre-shipment, quarantine, and feedstock that may meet the definitions under the Act
- International trends in the control of methyl bromide quarantine and pre-shipment use
- Review of issues relating to the use of methyl bromide used by other agencies
Record keeping requirements
Methyl bromide record of all use form
Anyone who uses methyl bromide must keep a record of the details of every fumigation performed using a Record of all use form. These records must be kept for five years.
A separate form is available for non-QPS and QPS use. For feedstock users of methyl bromide please see the section below for reporting requirements.
Summary record of all use form
In addition to the records for each fumigation performed, end users must keep a separate summary record, on a Summary record of all use form. A separate form is available for non-QPS and QPS use. The forms record a summary of methyl bromide use over a six month period from 1 January and 1 July of each year during which the person uses methyl bromide for a QPS or non-QPS application. The summary record must be kept for five years.
End users that also hold an exemption to use methyl bromide for non-QPS purposes, or who are feedstock users, are required to report all use under their exemption.
All other end users (i.e. QPS users) are not required to report to the department about their use, but should be aware that are required to retain records or summary records and provide these upon request.
Contracted fumigators for exemption holders should note that they must sign the exemption holders Report of all use of methyl bromide by critical use exemption holders verifying the details of each fumigation are correct.
Feedstock users of methyl bromide
Anyone who uses methyl bromide as a feedstock must possess a feedstock permit issued by the department.
Feedstock is defined in the Act as 'an intermediate substance which is used to manufacture other chemicals'.
The feedstock permit allows the holder to buy and use methyl bromide as a feedstock. The permit, which must be applied for annually, specifies:
- from whom the permit holder may purchase methyl bromide, and in what amounts
- the maximum amount of methyl bromide the permit holder may use in a calendar year, and
- what chemicals the holder is permitted to use methyl bromide to manufacture.
For each day that they use methyl bromide, feedstock permit holders must keep a record of:
- the date the methyl bromide was used
- the amount used, and
- what chemical or chemicals the methyl bromide was used to manufacture.
Permit holders may use their own record keeping systems to record their use, and these records must be kept for five years. Permit holders should be aware that they can be required to present these records for examination upon request.
Feedstock permit holders must report to the department within 21 days of the end of a permit year:
- the quantity of methyl bromide used as a feedstock in the year, and
- what chemical, or chemicals, the methyl bromide was used to manufacture.
Please note: If no methyl bromide was used as a feedstock during the permit period, permit holders are still required to report this to the department.
Feedstock permit application form
Anyone wishing to apply for a feedstock permit should download the permit application form and send it to the department. There is no application fee and applicants should expect a decision about the application within 30 days, unless further information is required.
Critical use exemption users
Individuals and companies, or their industry associations that have been granted a critical use exemption, must be aware of their obligations under the regulations.
Report of all use of methyl bromide by critical use exemption holders form
Individual exemption holders are required to keep a record, on the form Report of all use of methyl bromide by critical use exemption holders provided by department, of the details of every use of methyl bromide under their exemption, whether contracted fumigators or they themselves perform the fumigation. Exemption holders are also required to send that record to the department within 14 days of the end of each six months period, starting in January and July. It is the responsibility of exemption holders to ensure that they are using the correct form.
- Report of all use of methyl bromide by critical use exemption holders (PDF - 30 KB) | (Word - 55 KB)
If a fumigation is performed by a contracted fumigator, the contractor must sign the record after each entry to verify the details on the form are correct. The details of who each individual exemption holder has nominated to supply them methyl bromide in their exemption year, and their allocated amounts, are contained in the Non-QPS Exemption List for that year. Exemption holders should note that they may only purchase methyl bromide from their nominated supplier/s in the list for the relevant year.
Critical use exemption holders cannot use methyl bromide for any purpose other than the approved critical use.
Critical use exemption holders cannot sell or transfer methyl bromide to any other user without the written approval of the department.
National Critical Use Strategy
The Australian Government has prepared a National Management Strategy on Australia's Critical Uses of methyl bromide. The strategy has been prepared in response to Montreal Protocol decisions that request Australia to submit a national management strategy that describes how Australia will continue to progress its phase out of critical uses of methyl bromide. The strategy also outlines Australia's approach to deal with any proposed new critical use nominations for methyl bromide. Separate updates advising of the ongoing trends and developments in the phase out of Australia’s methyl bromide critical uses are prepared and posted in conjunction with the Strategy.
Quarantine and pre-shipment uses of methyl bromide
The Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995 state that methyl bromide is used for QPS if:
- it is applied by, or with the authorisation of, a Commonwealth, state or territory authority to prevent the introduction, establishment or spread of a pest or disease in Australia, state or territory, or
- it is applied to a commodity, before it is exported, to meet the requirements of the importing country or a law of the Commonwealth.
Examples are given below, but please note that these definitions relate to official actions. Contractual or commercial requirements alone do not qualify for the QPS exemption. Non‑QPS uses of methyl bromide are defined as all other uses that do not fall within the QPS or feedstock definitions.
An important aspect of the following examples is that they relate to official requirements. While an official requirement may be reflected in contractual or commercial arrangements, a contractual or commercial arrangement alone is not an official requirement. Official Australian requirements can be found through ICON, the Department of Agriculture’s import conditions database, and MICor, the Department of Agriculture’s plant and plant product export conditions database and the Quarantine Domestic website or phone 1800 084 881. The Department of Agriculture website is also useful for understanding official requirements for a range of other matters.
- ICON - import conditions database
- MICor - plant and plant product export conditions database
- Quarantine Domestic
- Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service
Pre-shipment: An overseas country has an official requirement to have the export of wheat fumigated with methyl bromide as a phytosanitary precaution against the introduction of unspecified stored product pests, such as red flour beetle or rice weevil - any fumigation must take place within 21 days of export.
Quarantine (export): An overseas country has an official requirement to have the export of cotton seed fumigated with methyl bromide to protect against the introduction of a specific fungus in order to protect their cotton industry.
Quarantine (import): An importer is required to either treat (eg methyl bromide or ethylene oxide), re-export or destroy an imported commercial consignment of goods made from natural forest materials, such as bamboo, which has not been treated off-shore and/or is not accompanied by an acceptable treatment certificate.
Consignments may also be treated prior to export to Australia. To decrease the high quarantine risk posed by ineffective fumigation treatments performed offshore, AQIS has established the Australian Fumigation Accreditation Scheme (AFAS). AFAS provides assistance for capacity-building for overseas quarantine agencies (or equivalent), in respect to monitoring and registering fumigation providers, and also assists fumigators in maintaining a high standard of methyl bromide fumigation performance and compliance with AQIS requirements.
Quarantine (domestic): Branched broomrape is the subject of an eradication program in part of the South Australian mallee. A small amount of methyl bromide (
Feedstock: Methyl bromide is introduced into an industrial process in order to synthesise, in combination with other chemicals, a new compound. In doing so, greater than 98 per cent of the methyl bromide is consumed in the reaction process.
The Ozone and Synthetic Gas Team of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities can provide further guidance on whether your use of methyl bromide falls within the QPS or feedstock definitions.
International trends in the control of methyl bromide quarantine and pre-shipment use
While methyl bromide QPS use is not currently controlled, it is the last significant ozone depleting substance use that has not been controlled under the Montreal Protocol.
Some countries have indicated that they plan to stop using methyl bromide in the near future. An example is the European Union which banned methyl bromide for all uses on 18 March 2010.
In Australia, methyl bromide is a key QPS fumigant and is used to protect our biosecurity and trade interests. Quarantine controls at Australia’s borders minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering Australia and protect our $32 billion agriculture export industries as well as our environment, tourism industries and lifestyle.
Australia needs to have a good understanding of its QPS uses of methyl bromide, including quantities used, commodities treated, reason for treatment, possible alternatives and options to reduced methyl bromide use, such as reduced dosage, recapture and, where permitted, re-use.
Relevant issues for Australia would include:
- quarantine standards required by Australia and our trading partners could be adequately maintained, noting that the development of accepted quarantine strategies is a protracted process, involving bilateral negotiations and substantial research and proving trials
- alternatives were based on sound science and were registered for appropriate use in Australia
- consideration of methyl bromide recapture and reuse as part of the solution, and
- recognition of current constraints in infrastructure at some Australian ports, particularly with respect to the logistics of fumigating some grain stores and fumigation in some just-in-time systems.
Review of issues relating to the use of methyl bromide used by other agencies
Methyl bromide was reviewed by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) as a result of environmental concerns and Australia’s international obligations under the Montreal Protocol. The APVMA released the Methyl Bromide Final Review Report and Regulatory Decision review in June 2007. The report recommended that the methyl bromide usage labels:
- reflect Montreal Protocol controls, and
- contain additional directions for use and warning statements.
- Methyl Bromide Final Review Report and Regulatory Decision review
For further information about your obligations under the regulations, to receive hard copies of any of the forms, or to discuss any methyl bromide issue, please contact:
Ozone and Synthetic Gas Team
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: +61 2 6275 9197
Fax: +61 2 6274 1610