Ministerial Forum to review vehicle emissions

Monday, 02 November, 2015

The Turnbull government has announced a whole-of-government approach to addressing vehicle emissions, implementing a Ministerial Forum that will examine vehicle emissions standards in Australia and vehicle testing arrangements.

The forum will be chaired by Major Projects Minister Paul Fletcher and supported by a working group that will be asked to examine issues including the implementation of Euro 6, fuel quality standards, fuel efficiency measures (CO2) for light vehicles and emission testing arrangements.

“This Ministerial Forum will allow the Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, Josh Frydenberg, and myself to consult broadly with industry with the aim of reducing harmful emissions on Australian roads and in our cities from motor vehicles,” Fletcher said.

“Presently we do not have the same levels of smog pollution in Australia that other countries face. Nevertheless, we must work hard to keep our air clean and reduce CO2 emissions that contribute to climate change by ensuring our new vehicles meet world’s best standards.”

The working group will report by 30 June 2016 to the Ministerial Forum on options for managing fuel quality standards, options for new measurement reporting standards for air pollutants under the National Clean Air Agreement and other measures. The group will report by 31 March 2017 to the forum on a draft implementation plan for new measures.

But the Australian Greens have criticised the fact that the forum puts off the possibility of implementing any standards until after March 2017.

“For years, the Climate Change Authority, experts, air quality campaigners and community members have been calling for mandatory vehicle efficiency and pollution standards that bring us up to speed with the rest of the world,” said Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and climate change spokesperson, who added that Australian cars “already guzzle more fuel than other developed nations”.

“Now the government is telling them to wait for at least another year and a half without any guarantee of a decent mandatory standard,” she continued.

“The Greens have a Bill ready to go in the Senate which would bring our fleet to up to the European Union’s 2020 standard by 2023, saving Australian drivers about $850 a year in fuel for new cars.

“It doesn’t make sense to keep delaying mandatory vehicle emissions standards, which are good for our climate, health and family budgets,” Senator Waters said.

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