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

27 February 2001


A new council to advise government on how to protect the environment from hundreds of millions of litres of waste oil each year will meet for the first time in Parliament House today.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said he looked forward to working with the Oil Stewardship Advisory Council on developing a range of initiatives and incentives to recycle waste oil. The council was established under the Product Stewardship (Oil) Act 2000, which came into effect on January 1 2001.

"Australians buy more than 500 million litres of oil each year, as much as two thirds of which is unaccounted for," Senator Hill said.

"As little as one litre of oil can contaminate one million litres of water. Burning waste oil can also produce carcinogens so the disposal of waste oil is a serious environmental problem".

"Under the new Commonwealth Act, government and industry will work together to recover and recycle waste oil to ensure it is not being dumped in the environment."

Senator Hill said under product stewardship, producers and users of a product share a responsibility to make and use a product responsibly, and to deal appropriately with 'end-of-life' issues.

Every litre of oil recycled now attracts a financial benefit, while a levy of 5.2 cents per litre has been introduced on producers and importers of oil, to fund the recycling program. The levy is expected to raise about $25 million each year.

The benefit paid to oil recyclers ranges from a minimum of three cents-per-litre where the waste oil is merely filtered, de-watered and burnt as industrial fuel oil, to 50 cents-per-litre where it is fully recycled into high quality lubricant, suitable for the same uses as new oil.

The levy does not apply to cooking oils or other biologically derived oils.

The higher benefits paid for 'lube to lube' - turning black waste oil back into clean clear lubricant - is expected to drive considerable investment in more sustainable uses for waste oil.

"The council will provide expert advice on incentives to increase the collection uptake and appropriate recycling and use of waste oil; and on how best to encourage the environmentally sustainable management and re-refining of waste oil and its reuse;" Senator Hill said.

"Members have been drawn from across Australia and from a range of backgrounds so that the oil production and recycling industries, State and local governments, consumers, and other non-government interests are appropriately represented."

The chair of the council, Mr Mike Williamson, General Manager, Commercial and Technical Services of Collex Pty Ltd, has more than 20 years experience in environmental management and engineering.

Other members are:
Mr Mark Borlace Royal Automobile Association of South Australia;
Mr David Braham Independent Australian Oil Recyclers Association;
Mr Gary O'Connor Queensland Environment Protection Agency;
Mr Philip Glyde Environment Australia;
Mr Doug Hagen Hagen Oil;
Cr Cathie Halliday Campaspe Shire Council
Mr Paul Howlett Waste Management Association of Australia
Mr Mark Jackson Australian Taxation Office;
Mr Martin Kirwan Oil Recyclers Association of Australia;
Mr Graham McGarry Loongana Lime Pty Ltd
Mr Bryan Nye Australian Institute of Petroleum;
Mr Andrew Poole Penrite Oil Company Pty Ltd;
Ms Adrienne Williams Cement Industry Foundation;

Further detail on the Oil Stewardship Program is on the Internet at:

27 February 2001

Contacts: Belinda Huppatz, Senator Hill's Office: 02 6277 7640
Graeme Marshall, Environment Australia: 02 6274 1064

Commonwealth of Australia