The Australian Government introduced legislation on 10 August to help improve air quality.

The Product Emissions Standards Bill will allow new product emissions standards to be established on small spark engines (non-road), bringing us into line with the US, Canada and Europe.

Currently emissions from these engines are not regulated here, leaving Australia as a dumping ground for less efficient products that cannot be sold in other countries.

The standards will be phased in over two years and reduce noxious air pollution from petrol-powered outdoor equipment and marine outboards which release high amounts of harmful air pollutants.

For example, a two-stroke leaf blower can produce the same amount of hydrocarbons as 150 cars, while on summer weekends in cities where the use of garden equipment is high, small petrol engines can contribute up to 10% of air pollution.

Following extensive consultation with key stakeholders, the new emissions standards will strengthen Australia’s capacity to manage air quality nationally and deliver an estimated $1.72 billion in avoided health costs over a 20 year period.

The government is also providing $1 million funding to support surf life saving clubs upgrade to cleaner outboard engines that meet the new emissions standards.

The Department of the Environment and Energy has partnered with Surf Life Saving Australia to deliver grants of up to $1,000 per clean outboard engine over the next four years.