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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2327 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Australia has an international obligation under the Montreal Protocol to control and eventually phase out the use of ozone depleting substances. To this end, Commonwealth legislation regulates the manufacture, import and export of ozone depleting substances, while the ACT Ozone Protection Act 1991 regulates activities associated with the handling, storing and using of ozone depleting substances at the Territory level. The initial Montreal Protocol provided a timeframe for phasing out ozone depleting substances. Subsequent assessment of actions taken internationally to commence phasing out ozone depleting substances in line with this timetable indicated that the phase-out was proceeding at a slower rate than anticipated. At the same time, it was established scientifically that the destruction of ozone in the ozone layer was escalating.

As a consequence of these findings, the Montreal Protocol was amended twice to bring in an accelerated phase-out of CFCs and halons. The timetable for the total phase-out of halons was brought forward to 31 December 1995, and that of CFCs to 31 December 1996. The accelerated phase-out of these ozone depleting substances has been made possible by the development of a number of CFC substitutes now commercially available. Some of the substitutes are ozone-benign substances. However, a number of interim substitutes are partially halogenated hydrocarbons which are not ozone-benign, but their ozone depleting potential is considerably lower than that of CFCs and halons. The main grouping among these substances is that of HCFCs, and their use requires control. The timetable for phasing out HCFCs is set to the year 2030. This, of course, may change as more replacement substances become available.

The Commonwealth Act has been amended and was enacted in August 1995. The amendments incorporate the accelerated phase-out of CFCs and halons, and introduce controls over the manufacture, import and export of HCFCs. The intention of this Bill is to amend the ACT Ozone Protection Act to ensure that the timetables for phasing out halons and CFCs are met by the ACT. Controls over HCFCs are introduced automatically as a consequence of recent amendments introduced in the Commonwealth Act.

The Bill makes amendments to sections 3, 7, 9, 12, 23 and 42 of the Act. The main provisions introduced by the Bill cover phasing out by a prescribed date the operation of halon-based installations or equipment; the ability to grant an exemption to allow operation of an installation or equipment for a limited period of time after the prescribed date where prescribed circumstances exist; and the ability to grant an essential use classification to allow operation of a halon-based installation or equipment to continue after the prescribed date, such as in certain hospital systems and for military purposes. These amendments, Mr Speaker, are timely, and will ensure that the ACT Act continues to complement the Commonwealth legislation at the Territory level. I commend this Bill to the house.

Debate (on motion by Ms Horodny) adjourned.

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