AUSTRALIA: Over $200,000 worth of refrigeration equipment has been seized by customs officers in Australia for being imported without a licence.
A statement by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) says that “100 packages” were seized in Melbourne in May after a tip-off that the Victorian-based importer did not have the required licence under Australia’s Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989.
The equipment was imported with certificates stating that refrigerant gas controlled under Section 13 of the Act, which includes HCFCs and HFCs, had been removed from the equipment, allowing the items to be imported without a licence.
DAWE compliance officers in conjunction with Australian Border Force officers inspected the equipment and found that “a significant portion still contained controlled hydrofluorocarbon refrigerant gases”.
In June last year a Victorian-based importer, manufacturer and supplier of air conditioning equipment was fined $12,600 by DAWE for importing R22 without a controlled substances licence. The refrigerant was said to have been supplied by an overseas equipment manufacturer to fill uncharged equipment it had previously shipped to the company. It was also fined for storing R22 in banned disposable cylinders.
In October 2020, a fire protection company was ordered to pay a civil penalty of $500,000 – the largest ever fine by DAWE for importing “several” one-tonne cylinders of HFC-227ea without a controlled substances licence.