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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

30 December 2001
EMBARGOED UNTIL 1.00am Sunday, 30 December 2001


Toxic emissions from cars and trucks will be slashed with the introduction of new national fuel quality standards for petrol and diesel from 1 January 2002.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage Dr David Kemp said the new laws will be enforced through random fuel sampling at refineries, distributor terminals and petrol stations.

"In 2002, a combination of cleaner fuels and improved vehicle technologies will mark a new era for Australian motorists and the petroleum industry," Dr Kemp said.

"The Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 will complement evolving fuel efficiency and emission control technologies, allowing modern cars to operate at peak performance. Together they will reduce pollutants from vehicles nationally and reduce serious respiratory illness in the community.

"Lead in petrol, a serious health risk for young children, will be prohibited under the new laws. Australia's remaining 2.5 million cars built prior to 1986 designed to run on leaded petrol will be required to use lead replacement petrol.

"The new standards will limit levels of aromatics and olefins in petrol. These substances give rise to exhaust and evaporative emissions of toxic chemicals such as benzene and 1,3- butadiene."

Fleet emissions of hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen are also expected to be drastically cut due to the combination of improved vehicle technologies and tighter petrol standards.

Dr Kemp said penalties under the Act are substantial. Individuals face a maximum penalty of $110,000 for altering or supplying fuel not complying with fuel standards. Corporations face a maximum penalty of $550,000 for similar offences.

He said fuel sampling would be conducted by State and Territory inspectors on behalf of the Commonwealth. Fuel suppliers would also have to comply with legislative record keeping and documentation requirements, which can be audited.

Dr Kemp commended those in the industry already complying with or exceeding the new fuel standards, and urged other companies to follow their lead.

"Many fuel suppliers and vehicle manufacturers understand that a continual tightening of vehicle emission standards is critical to improving air quality. We must act to achieve better air quality, particularly given the increasing number of vehicles on our roads," Dr Kemp said.

Further information about the Commonwealth's new fuel quality standards legislation is available from Environment Australia's web site at

Media contact:
Catherine Job (Dr Kemp's Office): (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Graph 1

Source: SETTING NATIONAL FUEL QUALITY STANDARDS - A Review of Fuel Quality Requirements for Australian Transport Volume 2, March 2000

Commonwealth of Australia