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Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Page: 3572

Mr Robert asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, in writing, on 4 February 2009:

What is the Government doing to ensure that harmful refrigerant gases, notably R134A and R401, are being recycled and not released into the environment when bulldozed into landfill.

Mr Garrett (Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Fluorocarbon refrigerants, such as the type mentioned in the honourable member’s question, are regulated in Australia under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995 (the Regulations). Only those businesses which hold a Refrigerant Trading Authorisation are allowed to acquire, possess or dispose of these refrigerants and only those technicians holding the appropriate qualifications and the associated Refrigerant Handling Licence are permitted to handle these refrigerants.

Under the Regulations, technicians must ensure that all refrigerant is recovered from refrigeration or air conditioning equipment when it is decommissioning and must give the used refrigerant to a Refrigerant Trading Authorisation holder or a refrigerant destruction facility. Refrigerant Trading Authorisation holders must accept all surrendered refrigerant and must ensure that such refrigerant is destroyed by the operator of an approved refrigerant destruction facility.

The regulatory controls are supported by an industry product stewardship scheme. The product stewardship scheme pays technicians for each kilogram of waste refrigerant that is returned for destruction, collects waste refrigerant from Refrigerant Trading Authorisation holders and organises disposal.

There are offence provisions in the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 and the Regulations relating to any act that causes refrigerant to be emitted to the atmosphere, other than in a manner prescribed by the Regulations.