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Montreal Protocol
 
The Montreal Protocol is the international treaty that controls and will ultimately phase out the production of ozone depleting substances.  In Australia, the Protocol is given force by the Commonwealth Ozone Protection Act, and similar pieces of legislation in each state and territory.
 
The Commonwealth controls the manufacture, import and export of ozone depleting substances by issuing licenses for these activities, which may place certain conditions on the licensee.
 
State and territory environment authorities control the sale and use of ozone depleting substances, including setting appropriate levels of training and enforcing controls such as compulsory recovery of ozone depleting refrigerants. 
 
CFCs 
 
The import or manufacture of CFCs has been banned in Australia since 1 January 1996.  While no new CFCs have entered the market since that date, much of Australia's refrigeration and air conditioning equipment still uses these refrigerants.  It is legal to continue to use CFCs although they can only be handled by suitably qualified personnel, they must be recovered whenever possible and controls exist on who can buy and sell these refrigerants.  The progressive replacement of these refrigerants with the environmentally preferable HCFCs or the non ozone depleting HFCs will continue for many years.  
 
HCFCs 
 
Under the Montreal Protocol, HCFCs will be phased out in 2020.  For a further 10 years until 2030 a small amount of HCFC will be permitted to be manufactured or imported for the maintenance of long lived equipment.
 
 
 
HCFC Cap  
 
Under the formula used by the Montreal Protocol, Australia would have been allowed to import an amount of HCFCs significantly in excess of market demand. Accordingly Australian industry has worked with the Australian Government to set a cap at less than half the permitted level.  This cap peaked at 250 ODP tonnes for the calendar year 1999, and is now gradually declining. 
 
It is believed that the phase out schedule would allow ample supply for the servicing of equipment through its economic lifetime.  
 
The Future 
 
The remaining phase out schedule for HCFCs in Australia has not been significantly changed since it was established in 1992, and it is not anticipated that it will change in the future.

 

While the Montreal Protocol phase out schedule for HCFCs was significantly accelerated in 2007, the Australian phase out was sufficiently advanced over our international obligations that no accelerting was required.
 
The focus of ozone protection initiatives under the Montreal Protocol has shifted to developing countries, where significant gains can be made.
 
The Science
 
According to CSIRO, "observations in Antarctica are consistent with the prediction that the ozone layer will recover slowly in the first two decades of the 21st century, and should adherence to the Montreal Protocol continue, complete recovery will occur around 2050."

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