Ozone in the stratosphere screens out much of the sun's harmful ultraviolet-B radiation that has adverse health impacts including skin cancer.
Chlorine and bromine react strongly with ozone in the stratosphere, where a single atom can destroy thousands of ozone molecules by chain reaction. The largest source of chlorine in the stratosphere is chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). The most important sources of atmospheric bromine are halons and methyl bromide.
Victoria's ozone protection framework has been in place since the late 1980s and has helped ensure Victoria plays its part in meeting Australia's international obligations under the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
This policy aims to prevent depletion of stratospheric ozone by minimising the release into the atmosphere of ozone-depleting substances such as CFCs, halons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons and methyl bromide. It establishes a framework and mechanisms for minimising consumption and emissions of ozone-depleting substances through recycling and reuse, improved handling and work practices, and managing their safe destruction.
In 2005 regulations made by the Australian Government to administer the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 came into effect. These regulations introduce national requirements for the refrigeration, air-conditioning and fire protection industries that use ozone-depleting and synthetic greenhouse gases; and record keeping and reporting requirements for sellers and users of methyl bromide.
The Australian Government is likely to broaden these regulations in the future to cover the remaining uses of ozone depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases, including for foam blowing, solvents, aerosols and laboratory and analytical uses.
In part, the Commonwealth regulations supersede requirements of Victoria’s Industrial Waste Management Policy (Protection of the Ozone Layer) (Ozone WMP). Information about the Ozone WMP and Policy Impact Assessment is available from the legislation section of this website.
Further information about the Australian Government regulations can be found at the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities and for queries related to requirements for refrigeration and air-conditioning call the information hotline on 1300 884 483.