In accordance with Australia's obligations under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (the Montreal Protocol), the import, export and manufacture of certain ozone depleting substances has 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.
Where an exemption has been approved under the Montreal Protocol an essential uses licence may be granted under the Act for the import, export or manufacture of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), halons, methyl chloroform (CH3CCl3), carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) and bromochloromethane (BCM) for uses which meet a very limited range of essential use criteria, including laboratory and analytical uses. It is suggested that advice is sought from the Department to ensure that the proposed import conforms to international guidance on what constitutes a laboratory or analytical use. Essential uses licences are subject to restrictions on the quantity of imports and have reporting requirements.
Applications should be lodged as early as possible, prior to the substances being imported, exported or manufactured.
The Department aims to assess applications within two weeks of receiving a fully completed application form with supporting documentation and payment of the licence application fee. However, the statutory timeframes of the Act provide up to 60 days for a decision to be made on a licence application. You will need to keep the full 60 day time in mind when applying for a licence, as assessment times vary.
A non-refundable licence application fee of $3,000 is payable with the essential use licence application, unless a waiver has been granted. There is no provision in the Act for the licence application fee to be refunded.
Please note: The licence application fee cannot be refunded even if the applicant subsequently decides a licence is not required.
The Minister or delegate may waive the application fee for an essential uses licence if they are satisfied that the manufacture, import or export of the scheduled substance to which the licence relates is for test purposes.
Online application form
In granting an essential uses licence, the Minister or delegate will consider whether the applicant's proposed use of the ozone depleting substance conforms with Australia's obligations under the Montreal 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 or delegate shall have regard to in making this decision. The Minister or delegate 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.
To comply with Australia’s international obligations, prior to granting a licence for essential uses of ozone depleting substances, other than for laboratory and analytical uses listed in Annex IV, the Australian Government must obtain approval from the Parties to the Montreal Protocol for the proposed use. This can be a lengthy process. If you think you may require an essential use exemption, please contact the Department as soon as possible to discuss whether your proposed use might qualify as an essential use and the timelines associated with your application.
Licensing periods run for two years. They commence on 1 January in even numbered years and end the following (odd numbered) year on 31 December. For example, 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2019. An essential uses licence comes into force from the day specified on the licence and stays in force until the end of the licence period in which it is granted unless a shorter period is specified.
When applying for a licence or exemption under the Act, you are 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 ozone depleting substances).
A summary of the information 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 hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs) or import, export or manufacture small quantities of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, methyl chloroform (CH3CCl3) and bromochloromethane (BCM) for essential uses, as specified by Annex IV of the 7th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol and further qualified by Decision XXVI/5.
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 $3000 is received by the Department. Application fees are non-refundable. There is no provision in the Act to refund the licence application fee. The licence application fee cannot be refunded even if the applicant subsequently decides a licence is not required. For more information about the essential uses licence and the criteria upon which the Minister or delegate may waive the application fee, please refer to How to Apply.
You will need the following information to complete 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 Australian Business Number (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 is responsible for submitting reports to the Department
- The name and contact details of a contact person who is 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
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 2018).
- 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
- 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.
It is a condition of all licences that the licensee does not allow another person or business to use their licence number.
Holders of essential uses licences are required to provide twice yearly reports to the Minister on the quantity of substances imported and how the substances are used.
If no imports or exports were made during a reporting period, a report is not 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 – 30 June||14 July|
|1 July – 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
- Form 4: Essential uses reporting - Report imports of scheduled substances for essential uses
The Department cross-checks information provided on reports with data provided by the Australian Border Force. Inaccurate reporting and late submissions are offences under the Act.
If you have any questions about reporting please contact the Import Operations Team.
If you want to change the nominated contact details please use our online request form: