Australia bans import of HCFC refrigeration and air conditioning equipment

Since 1 July 2010, Australia has banned under licence conditions of the pre-charged equipment licence, the import of most air conditioning equipment containing or designed to operate with hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerant (whether the equipment is gassed or not). Any imports received in Australia after this time have been denied entry unless the equipment is exempt under the condition outlined in the importer's existing pre-charged equipment licence.

On 18 May 2011, when amendments to the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 and Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995 came into force, the ban was extended to include the import and manufacture of both refrigeration and airconditioning equipment containing or designed to operate with HCFC refrigerant (whether or not it is also designed to operate using another substance).

From this date the import and manufacture of equipment containing HCFC or designed to operate on HCFCs has been prohibited unless the equipment:

  1. is a HCFC pre-charged refrigeration equipment;
  2. is a HCFC pre-charged airconditioning equipment import by the holder of a pre-charged equipment licence who has been granted a partial fee waiver for a one-off low volume import;
  3. is a chiller charged with HCFC-123;
  4. is a replacement part for existing HCFC air conditioning equipment. Replacement parts do not include a complete or substantially complete, indoor or outdoor unit of a split system air conditioner;
  5. is a component for existing high static ducted split system air conditioners;
  6. is an equipment insulated with foam manufactured with HCFC;
  7. is an equipment for which the Minister considers it is impracticable:
    • i) for the importer or licence holder to comply with the ban; and
    • ii) to remove or retrofit the equipment because it is incidental to the main import.

For example, 7(ii) would apply to air conditioning equipment incorporated into a large boat or drilling rig.

If you believe the equipment you are proposing to import may fall under criteria 7 (i) or 7 (ii), above, please contact the Ozone and Synthetic Gas Team on +61 2 6274 1373 or + 61 2 6274 1237 so you can obtain details of how to seek an exemption from the Minister.

For more information on pre-charged equipment and about obtaining a licence visit Ozone Depleting Substance/Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Equipment Licences (EQPL) or contact the Import Operations Team on +61 2 6274 1373 or ozone@environment.gov.au