Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are ozone depleting substances. Production and import of HCFCs is being phased out globally under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (the Montreal Protocol). Australia has implemented an accelerated phase-out of HCFCs under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 (the Act). Australia’s phase-out schedule is provided below. The phase-out schedule is implemented by allocating HCFC importers and manufacturers a limited quota.
- A controlled substances licence for HCFCs, and a HCFC quota allocation, is required to import, export or manufacture any amount of new HCFCs not contained in equipment. From 1 January 2020, bulk HCFC imported into Australia can only be used to service existing fire protection, and refrigeration and air conditioning equipment (equipment that was manufactured or imported before 1 January 2020).
- A used substances licence is required to import or export used HCFCs.
- An equipment licence (EQPL) is required to import equipment containing a HCFC or designed to operate using a HCFC. Import of HCFC equipment is only permitted in very limited circumstances.
Controlled substances licence for HCFCs - application form
If you are applying to import, manufacture or export HCFCs AND synthetic greenhouse gases you need to apply separately for a controlled substance licence for synthetic greenhouse gases. The synthetic greenhouse gases included are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).
You must have HCFC quota to import or manufacture HCFCs. The application form for the HCFC controlled substance licence also contains an application for HCFC quota. The maximum amount of quota that can be allocated is determined by the annual HCFC industry limit and the individual use of quota in the first year of the previous licence period.
The HCFC quota for the current licence period has been fully allocated. To obtain quota you would need to arrange a transfer of HCFC quota from another licence holder (see below).
Important notice: If you are thinking of applying for a controlled substance licence for HCFCs and have not previously held a controlled substance licence for HCFCs or cannot arrange a HCFC quota transfer from another licence holder, we strongly encourage you to contact the Import and Export Operations Team before applying.
The licence application fee is not refundable. There is no provision under the Act to refund a licence application fee. This includes where the applicant decides the licence is not required.
A non-refundable application fee of $15,000 is payable on application unless a waiver has been granted.
The Minister or delegate may waive the application fee for a controlled substances licence if:
- the licence is for the manufacture, import or export of less than half a tonne of a scheduled substance; and
- the Minister or delegate is satisfied that the import, export or manufacture is for test, monitoring or laboratory and analytical purposes; or
- the HCFC will be imported or exported for the purpose of disposal using a Montreal Protocol approved destruction technology.
The department aims to assess applications within two weeks of receiving a fully completed application form including all supporting documentation and payment of the licence application fee. However, the statutory timeframes of the Act stipulates the department may take up to 60 days to assess an application.
Applications should be lodged as early as possible, prior to the proposed goods being imported or exported.
In granting a licence, the Minister or delegate will consider whether the applicant is a fit and proper person. Section 16 of the Act lists matters to which the Minister or delegate may have regard in making this decision.
Applicants will receive an email notifying them of the outcome of their application and (if successful), a copy of their licence and quota instruments will be attached.
A controlled substances licence for HCFCs comes into force on the day specified on the licence and stays in force until the end of the licence period in which it is granted, unless it is cancelled or stops being in force for any other reason.
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 2024 to 31 December 2025.
For further information please contact the Import and Export Operations Team.
When applying for a licence or exemption under the Act, 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 ozone depleting substances).
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 controlled substances licences for HCFCs
Apply for this licence if you wish to import, export or manufacture HCFCs.
Important notice: HCFC quota is required to import or manufacture HCFCs. You should only apply for a controlled substances licence for HCFCs if:
- You are a current holder of a controlled substances licence for HCFCs and you have been allocated HCFC quota for the current licence period;
- You have identified an existing quota holder who has agreed to transfer HCFC quota or part of a HCFC quota to you if you are granted a controlled substances licence for HCFCs. (You will be required to provide the name or the licence number of the licensee who has agreed to transfer HCFC quota to you).
If you do not satisfy one of the two categories above, DO NOT submit the application or pay the non-refundable application fee. Please contact the Import and Export Operations Team if you require further clarification.
If one of the two categories above is applicable to you, you may proceed with your application. Please note that unless you are applying for a waiver of the application fee, assessment of applications will not commence until the full application fee of $15,000 is received by the department. Application fees are non-refundable. There is no provision in the Act to refund the licence application fee. No refund is possible even where the applicant subsequently decides the licence is not required.
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 responsible for submitting reports to the department
- The name and contact details of a contact person responsible for handling accounts enquiries from the department.
- Details about the proposed activity (import, export or manufacture of HCFCs), including country of origin or country of destination
- If you are an existing licensee with allocated HCFC quota for the current licence period – provide your licence number and the total quantity (in ozone depleting potential tonnes) of HCFCs imported or manufactured during the current licence period (you may need to refer to reports you submitted to the department throughout the current licence period)
- If HCFC quota is being transferred to you - provide the name or the licence number of the licensee who has agreed to transfer HCFC quota to you. The department will contact the current quota holder to confirm the amount of quota being transferred to you.
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).
- Documentation confirming membership of an approved product stewardship scheme, currently Refrigerant Reclaim Australia (RRA)
- 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.
- If you are applying for a fee waiver – supporting documentary evidence that the import/export is for test, monitoring, laboratory or analytical purposes and the amount is less than half a tonne.
It is a condition of all licences that the licensee does not allow another person or business to use their licence number.
The HCFC quota for the current licence period has been fully allocated. However, if you can identify a current quota holder who wishes to transfer their total quota, or part of their quota to you, an application to transfer quota can be made under section 35 of the Act.
The recipient of the quota must be a holder of a HCFC controlled substances licence. If you are not a current holder of a HCFC controlled substances licence, you will be required to apply and pay the $15,000 non-refundable licence application fee before the transfer of quota can occur.
If you applied for, and have been granted a HCFC controlled substances licence, and you have identified a quota holder who is willing to transfer their total HCFC quota, or part of their quota to you, the current holder of HCFC quota (transferor) will be required to submit an application to the Minister to transfer quota.
For further information please contact the Import and Export Operations Team.
The import of non-refillable containers containing HCFCs is prohibited, unless the substance is being imported for calibration or testing purposes, for laboratory or analytical purposes, or there is no practical alternative to importing the substance in a non-refillable container.
Non-refillable containers are specifically manufactured single use containers used for servicing or commissioning equipment. After use the containers are sent for disposal and deliberately punctured, in accordance with pressure vessel regulations, emitting the residual amount of gas to the atmosphere.
Holders of a controlled substances licence for HCFCs are required to provide twice yearly reports on the type and quantity of HCFCs manufactured, imported, and/or exported. Licensees then need to pay a levy based on the quantity of substances imported (or manufactured should this commence in Australia).
The import/manufacture levy is a cost recovery or 'prescribed rate' levy of $3000 per ozone depleting potential (ODP) tonne for HCFCs imported or manufactured. This is equivalent to $165 per metric tonne for the most common HCFC – HCFC-22.
Reports may be lodged at any time before 11:59pm on the 30th day following the end of each reporting period (including at any time during the relevant period).
If no imports or exports were made during a reporting period, a report is not required.
The import/manufacture levy is payable by the 90th calendar day following the end of the current reporting period (see table below).
Note: For reporting periods after 1 January 2018, if the total of the licence levies payable by a licensee for a reporting period is less than or equal to $330, the levy will be waived. This amount is specified in the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995 (the Regulations) and may change in the future. Any changes to this threshold will be amended in the Regulations and notified on the department website.
|Levy payment due by
|1 January – 30 June
|1 July – 31 December
Online reporting forms
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 you should contact the Import and Export Operations Team.
HCFCs are being phased out globally under the Montreal Protocol.
Australia has adopted an accelerated phase-out of HCFCs. The level of permitted imports and manufacture decreases as specified in the table below.
|Annual import limit (ODP tonnes*)
|2016 – 2029
*1 ODP tonne equates to approximately 9 metric tonnes of HCFC-141b or 18 tonnes of HCFC-22
- The phase out of R22 - fact sheet
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