The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has fined a Victorian-based importer and manufacturer of air conditioning equipment $12,600 for importing bulk hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) without a controlled substances licence.
Importing HCFC without a licence is an offence under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989, which is in place to protect the environment by reducing emissions of ozone depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases.
The substance, identified as R22, was supplied by an overseas equipment manufacturer to fill uncharged equipment that it had shipped to the company. The company holds an equipment licence to import equipment charged with scheduled substances. However, a controlled substances licence and HCFC quota must be held to import or export bulk quantities of HCFC.
The company was also fined for using disposable cylinders to store R22. This was in contravention of the company’s Refrigerant Trading Authorisation conditions – an offence under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995.
Disposable cylinders containing scheduled substances such as R22 are banned in Australia. These types of cylinders cannot be refilled, which means a residual “heel” amount of gas can remain in the containers and can enter the atmosphere once disposal of the cylinder occurs.
The Department has confirmed that the company has paid the infringement notices and is now complying with licensing requirements and conditions.
For more information about the ozone protection and synthetic greenhouse gas program, visit the Department’s website.
For more information about the refrigeration and air conditioning permit scheme, visit the ARC website.