Training FAQs

Who needs a refrigerant handling licence?

Any person who handles refrigerant or works on RAC equipment must hold a refrigerant handling licence. Handling a refrigerant means doing anything with the refrigerant, or a component of RAC equipment, that carries the risk of its emission, including:

a) decanting the refrigerant; or 
b) manufacturing, installing, commissioning, servicing or maintaining RAC equipment, irrespective if whether or not refrigerant is present; or 
c) decommissioning or disposing of RAC equipment where refrigerant is present.

What types of refrigerants do the licences cover?

The refrigerant handling licence and refrigerant trading authorisation cover all fluorocarbon refrigerants: chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons. Examples of these include R12, R22, R134A, R410A and R404A. 

Why do I need a Refrigerant Handling Licence to handle refrigerant?

Fluorocarbon refrigerants are harmful to the environment if emitted to the atmosphere. Under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995, persons handling refrigerant must hold a current Refrigerant Handling Licence. This licence is issued by ARC on behalf of the Australian government and can be obtained by completing the online licence application form on this website.

What do I do if I don’t hold a Refrigerant Handling Licence, but still want to handle refrigerant?

Under the regulations it is an offence of strict liability to handle refrigerant without the appropriate licence. You must apply for the relevant refrigerant handling licence.

Once I apply for a Refrigerant Handling Licence, how long does it take for my licence application to be processed?

With the introduction of the new online application facility, processing times of applications have reduced. New applications and re-applications may take up to 30 days to process, however the ARC will do its best to process all applications as efficiently as possible.

If my licence has expired, what do I need to do to get a new licence?

Provided that you have advised ARC of any subsequent change of address/email address you will receive a 
notification to apply for your new licence.

What is the time frame for implementation of a licence type for marine engineers and other maritime personnel handling refrigerants?

Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the department and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), marine engineers holding a current or valid AMSA certificate of recognition a Marine Engineer Watchkeeper, Marine Engineer Class Two or Marine Engineer Class One will not be required to hold a Refrigerant Handling Licence (RHL) after 1st March 2009.

These exemptions do not apply for Marine Engineering Class Three, any Marine Engine Driver grade certificates or any other maritime qualification or licence, or any other person who handles refrigerant for any work on refrigeration or air conditioning equipment at sea. All individuals not exempt under the AMSA MoU are required to hold a Marine Transitional Handling Licence which permits the holder to handle refrigerant and undertake work on RAC equipment only when a vessel is at sea. 

Application for a Transitional Marine Handling Licence must include a letter from the employer indicating that the applicant is able to competently handle refrigerant and do the RAC work. 

If I need to undertake a course so that I can apply for a Refrigerant Handling Licence, who do I speak to?

You will need to speak to a registered training organisation (RTO) to determine which licence qualification you are seeking and enrol in the selected course.

RTOs include TAFE colleges and private providers who are authorised to issue qualification certificates; many are listed on this web site here. If you believe that you already have the relevant training and experience, but do not hold the required qualification, you may not need to do any further training.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Recognition of Current Competency (RCC) is a process for recognising that you have gained skills, knowledge and experience from other courses, academic education, work experience and training on the job.

To use RPL or RCC to obtain a licence, you need to obtain the required qualification from a registered training organisation (RTO). In order to do so you must enrol in the relevant course and, having enrolled in the course you may complete it by:

• Applying for partial or full RPL/RCC;
• Completing a program of training;
• A combination of both of the above.

A trainee Refrigerant Handling Licence may be required. Please contact the ARC for more information on 1300 88 44 83.

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