16 Sep 21

The Australian Government is in the process of formally ratifying the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Once ratified, Australia will be bound under international law to meet the obligations of the Convention.

The Convention prohibits the import, export and manufacture of High-Pressure Mercury Vapour (HPMV) lamps. Meaning that Australia will need to stop the importation of HPMVs from the time that the Convention enters into force for Australia.

Recently the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment issued a notice outlining this is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2022.

The Foreign Minister must now sign the instrument of ratification by December 2021 following which the Convention will ‘enter into force’ for 90 days after the instrument of ratification is signed and submitted to the Convention Secretariat.

The ratification of the Convention will ban the import, export and manufacture of HPMVs, however, does not affect the ongoing sale, installation or operation of these lamps (until domestic supplies run out).

There remain approximately 500,000 HPMV streetlights installed across Australia, with a significant proportion in Queensland and Western Australia.

For more information on the above please visit https://www.environment.gov.au/protection/chemicals-management/mercury/sector-specific-guidance