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Thursday, 27 November 2003
Page: 18285

Senator HILL (Minister for Defence) (7:44 PM) —I thank all honourable senators who have contributed to this debate. The bills before the Senate, the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Legislation Amendment Bill 2003, the Ozone Protection (Licence Fees—Manufacture) Amendment Bill 2003, and the Ozone Protection (Licence Fees—Imports) Amendment Bill 2003, will ensure that Australia remains an international leader on action to protect the earth's ozone layer and climate. For the first time, Australia will have a truly national regulatory scheme for the management of both ozone depleting substances and the synthetic greenhouse gases used as their replacements. This national approach will deliver environmental gains more efficiently and realise benefits to industry in terms of increased certainty and consistency.

Australia is a world leader in ozone protection, dramatically curbing its consumption of ozone depleting substances in accordance with, and, in some instances, in advance of, its obligations under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. However, in phasing out ozone depleting substances, Australia, like most other countries, has increasingly turned to hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons, which are potent greenhouse gases. Compared to carbon dioxide, they are thousands of times more potent on a tonne for tonne basis. While still delivering a better environmental outcome, their increasing use as a replacement for ozone depleting substances makes their responsible management important to Australia's achievement of both its ozone protection objectives and its climate change objectives.

These bills address this issue by extending Australia's ozone protection program by adding supply controls to the synthetic greenhouse gas replacements of ozone-depleting substances. These bills also help industry improve Australia's management of both sets of gases by enabling the establishment of a consistent national approach to end-use regulation. Finally, these bills ensure that Australia remains at the forefront of global ozone protection by implementing the Beijing amendment to the Montreal protocol. The Beijing amendment adds a new ozone depleting substance to the list of controlled substances and bans the trade of hydrochlorofluorocarbons with countries who have not agreed to phase out these gases.

All of the amendments to these bills follow extensive consultation with industry and other stakeholders over the last four years and have received widespread support. Industry views them as providing necessary certainty and consistency with regard to its obligations to effectively manage ozone depleting substances and their synthetic greenhouse gas replacements. In developing this approach, government has ensured industry's ongoing competitiveness whilst protecting the environment. I commend the bills to the Senate.

Question agreed to.

Bills read a second time.