The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer requires a phase out of methyl bromide for applications other than quarantine and pre-shipment purposes by January 2005.
Methyl bromide is a chemical used to fumigate soil before planting and for post-harvest treatment and structural fumigation. It is extremely effective but is also recognised as an ozone-depleting substance.
From 1 January 2005 all uses of methyl bromide, other than for quarantine and pre-shipment (QPS) or feedstock applications, were prohibited in Australia. However, some 'critical use exemptions' have been allowed by the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
Critical use exemptions can be granted to sectors where there are no technically or economically feasible alternatives to methyl bromide. More information on the phase out of methyl bromide and critical use exemptions is available on the Australian Government Department of the Environment website.
The Department of the Environment is the lead Commonwealth agency coordinating the phase out within Australia. The Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources liaises with the Department of the Environment in implementing Australia's obligations relating to the use of methyl bromide under the Montreal Protocol.
More information about Australia’s participation in the Montreal Protocol can be found on the Department of the Environment website.