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THE new three-year refrigerant handling licence and trading authorisation permits from the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) have been welcomed by the industry, according to recently published figures.

ARC states that since the option was made available on 1 January, more than 90 per cent of applicants have opted for the new three-year renewals – instead of the standard two-year duration. 

The aim of the new three-year Refrigerant Handling Licence (RHL) and Refrigerant Trading Authorisation (RTA) scheme is to cut the administrative load on businesses, thanks in part to a streamlined renewal application process.

The less complicated, longer-lasting permits could also help companies avoid inadvertent lapses in licensing.

ARC’s new licensing options will tie in neatly with its upcoming “smart card”. This will allow for easy identification of licensed technicians and grant them quick, convenient access to key resources – such as refrigerant purchases.

New pre-populated risk management plans (RMP) that can be personalised and submitted while completing an online RTA application, has also been a successful measure for simplifying and streamlining the compliance process for businesses.

They enable businesses to seamlessly apply for or renew their RTA and get on with their work.

According to ARC, industry take-up of pre-populated RMPs has improved incomplete application assessments by up to 80 per cent in some cases.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has also recently benefited from ARC’s input on the matter of overly short training courses for refrigerant and air conditioning qualifications. Many were found to not deliver enough training, overlooked industry-specific risks or did not clarify the course content.

A series of recommendations have now been put forward, including revisions to the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 that includes definitions of the required type and quantity of training.

In other regulatory news, the NSW company recently fined $12,600 by the Department of the Environment and Energy for illegally importing equipment charged with a synthetic greenhouse gas has been confirmed to be a vehicle importer that was previously licensed to do so, but its permit had lapsed years ago. 

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