House of Representatives- Speech Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Amendment Bill 2010

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is a clear demonstration that the international community can address global environmental challenges through multilateral action. Actions taken by developed and developing countries through the Montreal protocol since it was agreed in 1987 have seen more than 95 per cent of ozone-depleting substances phased out. Scientific observations show that concentrations of chlorine and bromine in the atmosphere are now reducing. Scientists predict that the ozone layer will recover by around the middle of this century in the mid latitudes and by around 2070 over the Antarctic if all countries continue to meet their obligations under the Montreal protocol.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is a clear demonstration that the international community can address global environmental challenges through multilateral action. Actions taken by developed and developing countries through the Montreal protocol since it was agreed in 1987 have seen more than 95 per cent of ozone-depleting substances phased out. Scientific observations show that concentrations of chlorine and bromine in the atmosphere are now reducing. Scientists predict that the ozone layer will recover by around the middle of this century in the mid latitudes and by around 2070 over the Antarctic if all countries continue to meet their obligations under the Montreal protocol.

Australia has been a strong advocate of action to address ozone depletion since Montreal protocol negotiations began in the 1980s. In current circumstances it is worth observing that the Montreal protocol is a great example of how coordinated global action can be used to combat a diffuse global threat to the environment, when we contemplate the type of global action that is now required in relation to dangerous climate change. Australia has met or exceeded all of our obligations under the Montreal protocol.

This bill, the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Amendment Bill 2010, will facilitate Australia’s final phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons. The Australian government and industry agreed to an accelerated phase-out of HCFCs in the early 1990s which will see Australia phase out 99.5 per cent of HCFCs by 2016. The provision for restrictions on refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment containing HCFCs will reduce demand for HCFCs in the servicing sector as we head towards our final phase-out. This will also benefit consumers by preventing outdated technology from entering the market. This approach builds on Australia’s successful program to phase out chlorofluorocarbons in the 1990s.

The bill will bring our compliance regime into the 21st century. It clearly sets out the role of Commonwealth officials and the rights of people, businesses and property that are covered by the act. The civil penalty provisions offer an alternative to the existing severe and inflexible criminal offence provisions. They will provide effective compliance options without threatening the livelihood of minor offenders. The bill will build on the substantial efforts made to minimise preventable emissions of synthetic greenhouse gases. The enhanced compliance regime will further improve standards in the refrigeration, air-conditioning and fire protection industries and lead to lower emissions. I thank the members for Flinders, Moreton and Moore for the contributions that they have made to this debate. I commend the bill to the House.