• Australian Border Force.
    Australian Border Force.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment & Water (DCCEEW) has issued a total of $465,480 in fines to a company for importing electrical switchgear containing synthetic greenhouse gas without a licence.

Investigators from the department and the Australian Border Force (ABF) found that the Australian arm of a multi-national company imported equipment containing sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)—the most potent synthetic greenhouse gas—without a licence. 

Departmental and ABF officers worked closely to intercept imports at every major port in Australia between September 2023 and March 2024.

They seized around $3 million worth of equipment containing an estimated 517 kilograms of SF6, which if released to the atmosphere would have a climate impact equivalent to running nearly 5,000 cars for a year.

It is illegal to import equipment containing a scheduled substance like SF6 without a licence under both the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 and the Customs Act 1901.

Greenhouse gases contribute to global warming. Australia regulates the import and handling of these types of gases to minimise their risk to the atmosphere and to assist Australia’s tracking and reporting of greenhouse gases by imposing reporting obligations on licence holders.

DCCEEW has lifted its capacity to respond to breaches of Australia’s national environment laws and stands ready to take action against individuals and businesses who disregard them.