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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Commonwealth has agreed with the states and territories to introduce new standards for emissions from diesel vehicles.
In a world-leading decision, the National Environment Protection Council voted yesterday to develop a National Environment Protection Measure to combat the harmful effects of particles and nitrogen oxides coming from in-service diesel vehicles.
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill, chair of the council, said the Commonwealth Government had already spent $1 million on developing the latest technology to test diesel vehicles already in service. The Measure would set the standards for emissions from in-service vehicles and establish how to ensure they were being met.
Senator Hill said oxides of nitrogen helped create photochemical smog and ozone - and this could cause respiratory problems and aggravate asthma.
``The new measure will reduce the impacts of exhaust emissions from diesel vehicles on the health and well being of Australians,'' Senator Hill said.
``It will involve each state and territory in Australia following new emissions standards which will be developed through the National Road Transport Commission.''
The National Environment Protection Council will work with the National Road Transport Commission to ensure the standards and in-service testing requirements are compatible.
Development of the in-service standards was foreshadowed in the Commonwealth Government's Measures for a Better Environment Program. Tighter emission standards have already been introduced for new vehicles under this program and improved fuel standards are also being developed.
The measure is expected to include a range of strategies including:
AN inspection and maintenance program
FLEET maintenance programs
ENGINE rebuild programs
``States and territories will be able to implement those strategies to meet their own needs,'' Senator Hill said.
Consultations with key stakeholders on the strategies to be included in the Measure are planned for October and November, 2000. A draft Measure and Impact Statement is expected to be released in early 2001 for a two-month comment period, with the measure expected to be completed in June, 2001.
Wednesday, September 20
Dr Bruce Kennedy, NEPC Service Corporation (08) 84191200
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Robert Hill) (08) 82377920 or 0419 258364
Members of the National Environment Protection Council
Chair: Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill
NSW Minister for the Environment, Bob Debus
Victoria Minister for Environment and Conservation, Cheryl Garbutt
Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage, Rod Welford
WA Minister for Environment and Labour Relations, Cheryl Edwardes
SA Minister for Environment and Heritage, Iain Evans
Tasmania Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment, David Llewellyn
ACT Minister for Urban Services, Brendan Smyth
NT Minister for Lands, Planning and Environment, Tim Baldwin