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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

15 March 2000


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says Australia's air pollution levels will be significantly improved with the national phase out of leaded petrol by January 1 2002.

"Lead in the air is a serious health risk, particularly for young children. The emissions from motor vehicles contribute about 90% of airborne lead in urban areas. The Government is therefore committed to phasing out leaded petrol to reduce ambient lead concentrations as much as possible," Senator Hill said.

In Australia there are still around 2.5 million cars built before 1986 designed to run on leaded petrol. Senator Hill said the Federal Government had negotiated with oil companies for the national introduction of lead replacement petrol (LRP).

"More than 30 percent of cars built before 1986 can run efficiently on normal unleaded petrol. Owners should check with their state motoring organisation to see if their vehicles have low compression engines and hardened valve seats, and can already use regular unleaded petrol.

"Other vehicles with high compression engines and soft valve seats, will need to use Lead Replacement Petrol. LRP will have the same octane rating as leaded petrol, with the anti valve seat recession (AVSR) additive providing the lubricating properties of lead.

"Western Australia has already introduced LRP and prices are similar to those for leaded petrol."

Senator Hill said the phase-out of leaded petrol and the development of new fuel quality standards were part of a wide range of initiatives introduced by the Howard Government to reduce air pollution.

"We've supported the establishment of national standards for air quality and monitoring programs to ensure they are met. We've launched the National Pollutant Inventory to make Australians better aware of pollution levels along with a range of initiatives such as the alternative fuels conversion program to encourage to take-up of cleaner fuels.

"Together with the phase-out of leaded petrol they will make Australia's major cities much healthier to live in the future," Senator Hill said.

For further information contact Environment Australia on 1800 803 772 or refer to the Internet at:

Media contacts:
Rod Bruem (Senator Hill) (02) 6277 7640 0419 258 364
Kathleen Mackie (Environment Australia) (02) 6274 1625 0411 132 617

Commonwealth of Australia