Department the Environment and Heritage
About this review
The Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 (the Act) provides in section 72 for a review of the operation of the Act, to be undertaken as soon as possible after the second anniversary of the commencement of Part 2 of the Act. Section 72 of the Act gives guidance on the performance of the review. Provisions in Part 2 that enable enforcement of the standards commenced on 1 January 2002. The determinations for petrol and automotive diesel fuel quality standards took effect on this date.
The review provided an early opportunity to evaluate the operation of the Act and to propose corrective actions if necessary. Consideration was given to the effectiveness and efficiency of sections of the legislation in achieving the function for which they were drafted, in the light of experience with administering the statute since commencement.
This review is now complete. The review concluded that the overall policy objectives of the Act are being met and should not be altered, but that the following issues should be addressed:
- Nationally consistent fuel standards and their application to unincorporated suppliers have not been achieved in all respects; there is thus a need for complementary state and territory legislation.
- In order to reinforce the monitoring and enforcement function of the Act, consideration should be given to an ongoing review of resources for fuel sampling and testing, coupled with cost-effective approaches such as the inclusion of penalty notices.
- In order to ensure fuel supply in an emergency, a procedure and an emergency provision for off-specification fuel should be developed.
- To ensure that the administrative effort required is in keeping with the objects of the Act, the approvals systems need to be streamlined; and procedures such as the delegation of duties to DEH, notification obligations for Regulated Persons, and the provision of geographical and seasonal variation to standards need to be refined.
- In order to address stakeholder concerns and ensure continued compliance, industry and community communication and education need to be improved.
A review panel was established to conduct the review of the Act. The late Dr Brian Robinson AM was appointed the independent Chair of the Panel and was succeeded by Dr Roy Green AO. Mr Peter Burnett of the Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), Mr Stephen Payne of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources (DITR), and Mr Steve Webber of the Australian Government Solicitor were also appointed as members of the review panel.