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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

30 November 2000

NEW FUEL QUALITY LEGISLATION PASSED BY THE PARLIAMENT


Australia is one step closer to having cleaner, more efficient transport with today's passage of the Fuel Quality Standards Bill 2000.

"This legislation will allow Australia to take advantage of international standard vehicle and emission control technologies, by ensuring that fuel in Australia is of consistently high quality. The ultimate goal, however, is to achieve important reductions in emissions of all of the significant air pollutants," said Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill.

For the first time, the Government will be able to make mandatory quality standards for fuel supplied in Australia, and control harmful fuel additives.

Once standards are in place under this legislation, consumers will be able to be confident that the fuel they put in their tanks will do the job it's expected to. The vehicle manufacturing industry will be confident that fuel is appropriate to the high technology emissions controls they are required to put in vehicles. Most importantly, we can be confident that the level of pollutants vehicles emit is being controlled. This will be the case whether we are talking about cars running on petrol, LPG or ethanol.

"Much attention has been given to the impact of this legislation on petrol and diesel quality, because our efforts are initially going into standards for these fuels. But it is worthwhile to reiterate that this legislation is not limited in its application," Senator Hill said.

The Commonwealth has already commenced discussions which will lead to standards for liquified petroleum Gas (LPG). During the next few years, we hope to have all fuels used in motor vehicles covered by quality standards, including biodiesel and other alternative fuels.

"The Howard Government will continue to give a high priority to initiatives aimed at reducing the impact of vehicles on the Australian environment, both through the Natural Heritage Trust Air Pollution in Major Cities Program and various programs addressing greenhouse gas emissions," Senator Hill said.

"These efforts amount to a serious commitment to improving the quality of life, health and environment for all Australians."

The Fuel Quality Standards Bill 2000 is a Bill for an Act to regulate activities involving fuel and fuel additives, and for related purposes.

The main objective is to regulate the quality of fuel to:

The Bill provides a framework to create national quality standards for fuels and to enforce them.

The Bill was passed by the Senate on 8 November 2000, and the House of Representatives on 29 November 2000. Once it receives Royal assent, the Minister for Environment and Heritage will be able to table standards. It is expected that the first standards, covering environmentally significant characteristics of petrol and automotive diesel, will be tabled early in 2001.

Copies of the Bill and related documents can be found at www.aph.gov.au/.

November 30, 2000

Media contacts:
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill) (02) 6277 7640 0419 258 364
Kathleen Mackie (Environment Australia) (02) 6274 1625 0411 132 617

Commonwealth of Australia