Guide to importing items regulated by the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989
Customs brokers guide to importing items regulated by the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 (PDF - 590.43 KB)
Customs brokers guide to importing items regulated by the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 (DOCX - 301.38 KB)
Updated Information on the Harmonized System tariff codes commencing 1 January 2022 for controlled substances under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 (the Act) including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs):
- Imports of ozone depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases controlled under the Act, and equipment containing these substances, are managed by the Department and the Australian Border Force to minimise the impact of these substances on the ozone layer and the climate system.
- For information on importing and exporting gases and equipment covered by the Act see the Department's website at Import and Export Licences and Reporting.
- Importers must hold the correct licence to import regulated items or be able to provide evidence their goods are exempt from the controls or licence requirements.
- If goods are self-assessed as being exempt or not requiring a licence, customs brokers/importers must be able to produce supporting evidence on request.
- Brokers cannot hold a licence to import items on behalf of a client. Brokers will require the importer’s licence information to process the import.
- Controlled substances or equipment imported without a licence may be seized and importers may be liable to penalties and prosecution.
- Importers should check import requirements before importing goods and allow adequate time to apply for, and be granted, a licence if one is required
- The Department must decide whether to approve a licence application within 60 days of all required information being provided. The Department aims to assess licence applications sooner, typically within 14 days.
- Licence application fees are non-refundable.
- Import documentation must be complete, correct and in English (or translated into English).
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A. List of controlled substances
Controlled substances are listed in Schedule 1 of the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989.
B. Questions to ask the importer
This information is designed to help customs brokers identify when an import is regulated under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989, particularly where the importer does not know if the import contains a controlled substance or equipment designed to use a controlled substance.
Customs brokers questions to ask importers (PDF - 60.1 KB)
Customs brokers questions to ask importers (DOCX - 160 KB)
C. Importing equipment without controlled gas
Equipment designed to use a controlled synthetic greenhouse gas but that does not contain the controlled gas when imported may be imported without a licence. Importers may be asked to supply documentary evidence to demonstrate that the equipment does not contain a controlled synthetic greenhouse gas or that the controlled gas has been removed from the equipment, for example a certificate, invoice or work order completed by the technician that removed the gas, or a letter or document from the manufacturer or supplier (on their letter head) confirming that the equipment has never been charged with gas.
For more information see Importing vehicles, boats, caravans or any other equipment that may contain refrigerant gas into Australia
Section 40 exemptions for prohibited equipment
Section 40 of the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 is no longer in operation. For information on how items formerly covered under a Section 40 exemption are now handled, please see Equipment Licences (EQPLs).
E. Criteria where no licence is required
An import licence is not required for:
- Low volume imports – synthetic greenhouse gases. Importers can import equipment containing up to a total of 25 kilograms of synthetic greenhouse gas (hydrofluorocarbon (HFC), perfluorocarbon (PFC), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) or nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) during a calendar year without a licence. There is no limit on the number of pieces of equipment and the equipment may be imported in one or more consignments.
- Low volume imports – hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). From 1 January 2020, low volume imports of HCFC equipment without a licence will no longer be allowed.
- Personal use. Equipment containing ozone depleting substances or synthetic greenhouse gases owned for private or domestic use in the country of export for 12 months or more before import and that is for private or domestic use in Australia may be eligible for a personal use exemption.
- Exemptions for medical or veterinary equipment. Specified medical, veterinary and other equipment (e.g. asthma puffers) containing synthetic greenhouse gases are exempt from licensing and levy requirements. From 1 January 2020, medical and veterinary equipment containing HCFCs will require a licence.
For more details and information on other available exemptions, see Exemptions - Do I need a licence?
- Equipment designed to use controlled synthetic greenhouse gases where no controlled gas is in the equipment when it is imported. Refer above to part C. Importing equipment without controlled gas
- Equipment using non-regulated gases. Regulated gases are listed on Schedule 1 of the Act.
- Gas on board a ship or aircraft, where it is exclusively for use in meeting reasonable servicing requirements of air conditioning or refrigeration equipment on board when the ship or aircraft is or will be engaged in a journey:
- between a place in Australia and a place outside Australia, or
- between two places outside Australia.
- Temporary imports or re-imported goods.
F. Licence requirements
There are four types of import/export licences under the Act:
- equipment licences (EQPL);
- controlled substances (bulk) licences (for HCFCs, synthetic greenhouse gases or methyl bromide);
- essential uses licences; and
- used substance licences.
The most commonly required licences are equipment licences and controlled substances (bulk) licences.
Equipment - EQPL
Bulk gas - cylinders and tanks
Please note that the import of non-refillable containers containing HFCs is prohibited. Licence conditions on controlled substances (bulk) licences prohibit the use of non-refillable containers to import controlled substances.