Monday 11 September the Australian Senate voted to approve the Product Emissions Standards Bill.
The Rules (Regulations) are being drafted and Industry has a further meeting with the Environment Department tomorrow.
The Rules are planned to commence next year, with the final imports of high emission outboards and mowers on 30 June 2018. Wholesalers and Dealers will then have a year to sell off old stock. All of this was announced in January – giving Industry 30 months clear notice – though regulations in general were in process since 2015.
With a two stroke lawn mower pushing out 40 times the emissions of a car, and a brush cutter as much as ten cars, standards were overdue. The USA started small engine emissions laws twenty years ago. The EU, Canada, Japan and many other countries followed. China’s standards commenced in 2011.
Non-complaint outboards (carby and EFI two-strokes) don’t just have 10% or 20% more emissions than four strokes or Direct Injection two-strokes. On average the dirty engine has eleven times the emissions, but some of the Cheap, Cheerful, Copy engines have been measured at 39 times the emissions of a clean engine.
In practice this means that a tiny 8hp carby two-stroke pushes out 59% more emissions per hour that a large 150hp four-stroke outboard. Both “quality” products of the market leading manufacturer.
What follows next is the Rules. The devil is always in the details.
Sadly the Complimentary Bill will be a nightmare for industry. The Bill amends the Customs Act, so Australia Border Force is exempted from their usual role of seizing any illegal imports. They seize drugs, weapons, counterfeit handbags and even US made boat trailers. But not illegal engines.
Enforcement will be left in the hands of the Department of Environment. The “pink batts” Royal Commission and two Auditor General Reports make it hard to see how the Department has what it takes to manage the 1.3m small engines imported each year.
Industry has recommended a Co-Regulation arrangement to fill the enforcement gap.
Chair of Blue Sky Alliance has been working on this Bill since the 2006 Expert Panel. Appointed the Minister’s first Clean Air Champion in 2015 he is a keen angler and winner of the Healthy Waterways Award in 2007.