The Queensland Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Dr Anthony Lynham, has responded to a parliamentary petition calling for restrictions to be lifted on the use of hydrocarbons in refrigeration and air conditioning.
The petition was submitted to the Queensland parliament by One Nation Party MP, Stephen Andrews.
The Member for Mirani called for legislative changes allowing hydrocarbons to be used more widely in the state to reduce energy costs.
In a formal response to the petition which was tabled in parliament, the Minister said the use of hydrocarbon refrigerant is administered under the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act which came into force in December 2004.
Lynham said the use of hydrocarbon refrigerant is not banned in Queensland and the approach taken by the government is consistent with laws in other states relating to workplace health and safety legislation.
“There is no empirical data to support the energy saving claims made in the petition,” the Minister said.
He said refrigeration devices using hydrocarbon refrigerant are approved based on test reports from accredited testing laboratories, and relevant Australian standards.
“The use of hydrocarbon refrigerant is regulated in all states; Over the past 10 years there have been three confirmed incidents in other states which has resulted in two deaths and four serious injuries as a result of the misuse of hydrocarbons,” Lynham said adding that there are no reports of serious injury involving the refrigerant in Queensland.
As of August 13, 2020 there are 2800 models of refrigeration devices that use hydrocarbon refrigerant approved for use in Queensland.
“The petition does not provide any documentation to support any mismatch between the legal requirements for the use of hydrocarbon refrigerants in Queensland and other states or territories,” the Minister said.
After discussion with other states a Flammable Refrigerants Position Paper was developed by the heads of relevant workplace safety authorities in November 2018.
The paper was adopted by various states and territories as the instrument outlining the obligations of work health and safety duty holders in the use of flammable refrigerants.