Methyl bromide is an ozone depleting gas and a controlled substance. In Australia it can only be used as a fumigant for quarantine and pre-shipment purposes, unless the Australian Government has given permission for another use. Heavy penalties apply for any unauthorised use of methyl bromide.
You can protect yourself and the environment by using methyl bromide correctly and fulfilling your legal obligations.
Approved quarantine and pre-shipment uses
Methyl bromide can be authorised by a government authority to fumigate imports into the country. For example:
- fumigating an imported consignment of goods infested with a pest at the port of entry (wooden products, household items, returned equipment, flowers)
- fumigating an imported consignment of goods that may contain a pest and is not accompanied by an acceptable treatment certificate
- fumigating a commodity or consignment being shipped interstate where the receiving state or territory government has mandated the use of methyl bromide to control or eradicate pest species (branched broomrape, nematodes).
Methyl bromide can be used to fumigate a product or commodity before exporting, where it is required by the importing country to ensure it is free from pests. For example:
- fumigating a commodity being exported from Australia to meet incoming phytosanitary requirements (wheat, cottonseed, logs).
Illegal use of methyl bromide
You cannot use methyl bromide:
- without a direction from a quarantine authority or from a foreign government
- for a soil or structural fumigation without approval from the Australian Government
- solely to meet contractual or commercial requirements.
When selling methyl bromide you need to:
- check the buyer will only be using methyl bromide for:
- quarantine use on imports or
- pre-shipment use on exports.
- make sure the buyer signs a declaration to confirm these purposes.
- keep a copy of this record for at least five years.
Do not sell to a buyer that will be using methyl bromide for a purpose other than quarantine and pre-shipment use.
If you buy methyl bromide you need to:
- make sure it will only be used for a quarantine and pre-shipment use
- mign a declaration at the time of purchase confirming you are using methyl bromide for these purposes only
- keep a record of each fumigation, including the reference number, for at least five years.
You cannot use methyl bromide for any other purpose other than quarantine and pre-shipment use without the approval of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.