Australia - Hazardous Materials

The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts administers and implements the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989. The Act was developed to enable Australia to comply with specific obligations under the Basel Convention (Basel Convention on the Control of the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their disposal), a Convention set up to control the international movements of hazardous wastes.

The main purpose of the Hazardous Waste Act is to regulate the export and import of hazardous waste to ensure that hazardous waste is disposed of safely so that human beings and the environment, both within and outside Australia, are protected from the harmful effects of the waste.

The original Act of 1989 only controlled movements of wastes that lacked financial value, usually destined for final disposal operations (for example, by incineration or landfill). In 1996, the Act was amended to include wastes that possess financial value, usually destined for recycling and recovery operations. These amendments enabled Australia to meet all of its obligations under the Basel Convention. The Act requires that a permit be obtained before hazardous waste is exported from Australia or imported into Australia. Additional information can be found at: