Australia is on its way to reducing hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) imports with amendments to the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act formally introduced to Parliament last week.
The Ozone Protection and synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Amendment Bill 2017 will allow Australia to phasedown HFC imports and reach an 85 per cent reduction by 2036.
Environment Minister, Josh Frydenberg, said that in addition to supporting a domestic HFC phase down from January 1, 2018, the Bill will streamline licensing, reporting and administration of existing legislation, significantly cutting red-tape.
"The legislation will enable Australia to continue to contribute to global outcomes under the Montreal Protocol - one of the great international environmental success stories," he said.
"Thanks to global action under the Montreal Protocol the ozone layer is now expected to recover for most of the planet by the middle of this century and by around 2070 over Antarctica.
"The amendments will ensure Australia continues to play a lead role in managing HFCs and ozone depleting substances."
Industry groups were quick to welcome the amendments with the Airconditioning and Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturers Association of Australia (AREMA) president, Mark Padwick, pointing out that the phasedown provides industry with long term certainty.
"Manufacturers must contend with a wide range of issues when they select which refrigerants to use," he said.
"Not only do they want to choose refrigerants with low environmental impact, they also need to consider consumer safety, energy efficiency, cost, suitability and many other things.
"By working with industry to lay out the roadmap for future technology choices, the government is enabling industry to continue providing the equipment and services Australia needs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions."
Padwick said the opportunity exists to reduce emissions up to the equivalent of 80 million tonnes of carbon dioxide abated from 2020 to 2030.
Refrigerants Australia executive director, Dr Greg Picker, said industry has actively supported a phasedown of HFCs over the next two decades.
"In shifting from ozone depleting substances in the 1990s industry has already delivered more emission reductions than any other sector of the Australian economy," Picker said.
"Industry has a 30 year history of working collaboratively with governments to improve environmental performance."