In accordance with Australia's obligations under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (the Protocol), the import, export and manufacture of certain ozone depleting substances (ODSs) have 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.
An essential uses licence may be granted under the Act for the import, export or manufacture of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), halons, CH3CCl3(Methyl chloroform), CCl4(Carbon tetrachloride) and bromochloromethane (BCM) for uses which meet a very limited range of essential use criteria, including laboratory and analytical uses. Annex IV of the 7th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol outlines the categories and examples of laboratory and analytical uses. Essential uses licences are subject to quantitative restrictions and reporting requirements.
Applications should be lodged as early as possible, prior to the proposed goods being imported, exported or manufactured.
Normally, the department will aim to process applications within 2 weeks of receiving a fully completed application form that includes all supporting documentation and payment of the licence fee. However, the statutory timeframes of the Act stipulates that the department may take up to 60 days to process an application. You will need to keep the full 60 day processing time in mind when applying for a licence, as processing times do vary.
A non-refundable licence application fee of $3,000 is payable with the application unless a waiver has been granted. There is no provision in the Act or the Regulations that gives the Minister or his/her delegate the power to refund the licence application fee.
Please note: this includes situations where an applicant has lodged a licence application and then no longer requires a licence.
The Minister may waive the application fee for an essential uses licence if the Minister is satisfied that the manufacture, import or export of the scheduled substance to which the licence relates is for test purposes.
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 (ODS) or Synthetic Greenhouse Gases (SGGs) whether incorporated into equipment or in cylinders).
Please see below to obtain a summary of the information that you will need to complete the application form, and a list of supporting documentation you must submit with your application.
Essential Uses Licence application form
In granting a licence, the Minister will consider whether the applicant's proposed use of the ODS conforms with Australia's obligations under the 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 shall have regard to in making this decision. The Minister 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 wherever possible.
In regard to conformance with Australia's international obligations, for all essential uses other than those that are for laboratory and analytical uses, the Australian Government must obtain an Essential Use Authorisation (EUA) from a Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol prior to granting a licence to import any quantity of the ODS.
For further information on the nature of the information the Australian Government must provide in order to obtain an EUA and the annual deadline for submitting such a request to a Meeting of the Parties, please refer to the handbook below.
- Handbook on essential use nomination' (PDF 110 KB) - UNEP, 2009
An essential uses licence comes into force on the day specified in it and stays in force until the end of the licence period in which it is granted, or any shorter period specified in it, unless it is cancelled or stops being in force for any other reason, before then.
The current licensing period commenced on 1 January 2012 and ends on 31 December 2013.
Holders of Essential Uses Licences are required to provide quarterly reports to the Minister based on the quantity of substances imported and the use to which the substances are put.
If no imports or exports were made during a reporting period, a 'nil' report is still 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 – 31 March||14 April|
|1 April – 30 June||14 July|
|1 July – 30 September||14 October|
|1 October – 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
Essential Uses quarterly report form
- Form 4: Essential uses reporting - Report imports of scheduled substances for Essential Uses (including Nil report)
The department cross-checks information provided on quarterly reports with data provided by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. Inaccurate reporting and late submissions are offences under the Act.
If you have any questions about reporting you may contact the Reporting Officer on +61 2 6274 1373.
For more information please contact the Import Licensing Team on:
Phone: +61 2 6274 1373
Licences and reporting
- EQPL and LVIL
- Controlled substances licences
- Essential Uses
- Used Substances
Importing into Australia
Importing a car, boat, caravan or fridge into Australia?
A licence may be required.