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Publications archive - Annual reports


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2002-03

Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2003
ISSN 1441 9335

Reports - Operation of the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000

This annual report is prepared in accordance with section 71 of the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000. It covers the operation of the Act from 1 July 2002 until 30 June 2003, and also covers earlier aspects of the Act's implementation from its assent on 21 December 2000.

The main object of the Act is to regulate the quality of fuels supplied in Australia in order to:

The Fuel Quality Standards Regulations 2001 cover the regulation of fuel and fuel additives, the operations of the Fuel Standards Consultative Committee, the publication of notices relating to entries in the Register of Prohibited Fuel Additives, enforcement, and record keeping and reporting obligations.

Regulation of fuel quality

Specific fuel quality standards have been set as Fuel Standard Determinations for diesel and petrol, separately. These Determinations were implemented on 1 January 2002, and include environmental and engine operability based standards for a range of parameters. Key parameters and their limits include:

A complete set of standards is on the Department's web site.

Fuel Standards Consultative Committee

Section 25 of the Act establishes a Fuel Standards Consultative Committee as a formal consultation mechanism. The committee is required to include one representative of each state and territory, and the Commonwealth. It must also include at least one person representing fuel producers, a non-government body with an interest in the protection of the environment, and a person representing the interests of consumers. The Minister may also appoint other members of the committee, which to date has included representatives from the motor vehicle manufacturing industry, independent fuel importers and suppliers, and the alternative and renewable fuels industry. During 2002-03, the committee consisted of the following members:

Ms Kathleen Mackie, Chair, Department of the Environment and Heritage
Mr Stuart Smith, Commonwealth Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources
Mr David Quinlan, ACT Department of Urban Services
Mr Nigel Routh, NSW Environment Protection Authority
Mr Bruce Dawson, Victorian Environment Protection Authority
Dr Lynne Powell, Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment
Mr Tom Whitworth, SA Environment Protection Authority
Mr Fred Tromp, WA Department of Environment
Mr Adrian Murray, NT Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment
Mr Scott McDowall, Queensland Environmental Protection Agency
Mr Bryan Nye, Australian Institute of Petroleum
Mr Geoff Angus, Clean Air Society Australia and New Zealand
Mr David Lang, Australian Automobile Association (until 3 March 2003)
Mr James Hurnall, Australian Automobile Association (from 4 March 2003)
Mr Peter Sturrock, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (until 6 August 2002)
Mr Rex Scholar, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (from 7 August 2002)
Mr Mike McCullagh, Independent Petroleum Group (from 4 March 2003)
Dr Stephen Schuck, Bioenergy Australia (from 4 March 2003)

Under section 24A the Minister must consult the committee before:

The committee provides written recommendations to the Minister on issues put before it. In relation to the granting of approvals under section 13 that allows specific variations to the fuel standards for specified periods, the committee made recommendations for 15 approvals, and a number of amendments to existing approvals.

Approvals were granted in relation to:

Approval was not given to 15 applicants that fell into the following three categories:

A notice under section 17A concerning a decision to grant or amend an approval, including the approval instrument, is published in the Commonwealth Government Gazette. A list of the approvals granted is on the Department's web site.


Implementation of monitoring, compliance and enforcement processes under the Fuel Quality Standards Act was further refined during 2002-03.

The legislation has been in force since 1 January 2002 and inspectors have been appointed under the Act to take samples from fuel supply sites. Fuel sampling is undertaken at refineries, distribution terminals, depots, service stations and other outlets. Samples are tested at an accredited laboratory for compliance with the standards. The Department's approach to sampling is becoming increasingly strategic as our understanding of the fuel supply industry increases.

The Department continues to work closely with industry in all aspects of the enforcement program. A workshop was held in Adelaide in February 2003 to discuss a number of issues of concern including prescribed test methods.

During 2002-03, 117 compliance incident reports were received and addressed. Inspectors took a total of 873 petrol and diesel samples from approximately 500 sites nationwide. Overall, test results indicate a high level of compliance with the standards. Five cases were referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Amendments to the Act

The Government introduced the Fuel Quality Standards Amendment Bill in Parliament on 26 June 2003. The Bill provides a mechanism for the labelling of fuels in the public interest, and includes amendments to declare that certain offences under the Fuel Quality Standards Act are offences of strict liability. The latter amendments follow advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Freedom of information

There were no applications under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal received no applications under section 70 of the Act for the review of a decision.