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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

21 May 2003

Brisbane Buses Drive for Cleaner Air with Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said today Brisbane City Council's rollout of ultra low sulphur diesel buses was the first step in a major and far-reaching change in Australians' diesel fuel consumption.

Brisbane City Council announced today that 600 of its 710-bus fleet had commenced using ultra low sulphur diesel produced by BP Australia at its Queensland refinery.

"I applaud Brisbane City Council for being the first major public transport provider to use this cleaner diesel which will reduce particulate and soot emissions," Dr Kemp said.

"The Howard Government wants to see this cleaner diesel introduced right around Australia as soon as possible. In last week's Budget, we announced price incentives to encourage producers, importers and users to make this switch.

"It is our clear expectation that ultra low sulphur diesel will become more widely available from 1 July when the price incentive begins to apply."

Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel Excise Differential will be implemented from 1 July 2003 to encourage the early uptake of ultra low sulphur diesel. This measure involves an excise increase of 1 cent per litre on diesel with more than 50ppm sulphur content on 1 July 2003, with a further 1 cent per litre increase on 1 January 2004.

"This will ensure Australia continues to realise improved environmental benefits from evolving emission controls and fuel efficient technologies," Dr Kemp said.

Dr Kemp said the latest data confirms the findings of the State of the Environment Report 2001 that air quality in our cities and towns is improving.

"Reforms including national standards for air pollutants and fuel quality, legislative controls on fuel quality, and implementation of national strategies to address transport, residential and industrial emissions are important for the health of urban Australians and their general lifestyle," he said.

The Howard Government has also committed to the environmental component of the Energy Grants (Credit) Scheme that will provide incentives for producers and importers to introduce premium unleaded petrol containing 50ppm or less sulphur content from 1 January 2006 and diesel with 10ppm or less sulphur content for two years from 1 January 2007.

In concert with improvements to vehicle emission standards, the Howard Government's Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000, which came into effect in January 2002, is expected to save the Australian community more than $3.4 billion by 2020 in avoided air pollution-related health costs.

Media Contact:
Catherine Job 02 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia