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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage

7 December 2000

New fuel standards major boost for environment

Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, has ushered historic new legislation through the Parliament that will deliver the first mandatory, national fuel quality standards for Australia ever.

"We had fallen 20 years behind the rest of the developed world in diesel and petrol quality, refined in Australia or allowed to be imported and sold here. In European countries there are many smaller cars on the roads, which have highly efficient motors driven by the cleaner, better quality fuel. These smaller cars go further on a litre of fuel and they have less effect on the air quality", Sharman Stone said.

"Australia has one of the highest rates of asthma per head of population in the world. Cleaner air is important for human health as well as for helping reduce human impacts on climate change".

"With pollution in some Australian cities exceeding the pollution of London, Toronto and other North American cities on many days each year, the Federal Government has now legislated for new fuel quality standards that promote vehicle safety and performance, whilst also cutting fumes and emissions to benefit the environment", Sharman Stone said.

"The Fuel Quality Standards Bill covers fuel supplied in Australia, for any use. It brings the quality of fuel supplied to Australian motorists into line with our overseas counterparts. The previous Australian Design Rules for motor vehicles emissions were equivalent to the United States standard in 1981!"

"The new rules will mean higher octane, lower sulfur content fuel that will bring real greenhouse and pollution benefits to Australian cities. They form part of the Federal Government's $1b greenhouse response, announced in the Measures for a Better Environment package".

Dr Stone said that the new fuel standards laws would also introduce significant penalties to protect consumers from fuel substitution.

"We are very serious about protecting Australians from unclean, impure fuel. People found guilty of supplying fuel that does not meet the new standards, altering fuel or using prohibited additives will face fines of up to $50,000. Corporations face penalties of up to $500,000".

"These new national standards have been developed in consultation with the States, Territories and industry. This will lower the cost of doing business for Australian producers who will no longer need to deal with different laws in different jurisdictions - a barrier to cheaper fuel".

For further information please contact:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468 or 02 6277 2016
December 7th, 2000

Commonwealth of Australia