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

Support Grows for Natural Gas Alternative


19 June 1997
(69/97)

The increased use of natural gas powered vehicles can make an important contribution to the Australian public’s number one environmental concern air pollution.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says there is great potential for natural gas powered vehicles, particularly in the public transport sector, to significantly reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and improve the air we breathe.

Senator Hill has today given the keynote address at the Urban Natural Gas Vehicles Conference in Sydney.

“Road vehicles are responsible for about 10 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and this level is growing.

“Recent research shows that even where natural gas is used in conjunction with petrol, a 20 per cent fall in carbon-dioxide emissions can be achieved compared to emissions from cars running solely on petrol.

“Such dual-fuel vehicles can also reduce the emissions of oxides in nitrogen by 50 per cent, result in a 53 per cent fall in carbon monoxide and an 80 per cent fall in hydrocarbons.

“Even better results can be achieved by vehicles running on 100 per cent natural gas.

“The natural gas alternative should be, and is being, embraced by an increasing number of transport systems in Australia and this is pleasing.

“For example, the South Australian Government has today announced the addition of 53 new natural gas powered buses for the TransAdelaide fleet, bringing the fleet’s total to 153.

“This is a promising step forward by a State public transport system and should serve as a model for governments in other parts of Australia.

“The Howard Government is addressing the issue of urban air quality through the Air Pollution in Major Cities Program, funded by the Natural Heritage Trust.

“The government is working with non-government organisations to raise community understanding of air pollution through programmes such as Smogbusters and is exploring ways of improving air quality monitoring and reporting in major cities.

“In particular the government is funding an independent inquiry by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering to examine solutions to air pollution.

“Just last week, Australia’s environment Ministers agreed to release an officials’ discussion paper on a measure for ambient air quality.

“The implementation of the Howard Government’s program should result in significant improvements in the years ahead.”

The Urban Natural Gas Vehicles Conference is being organised by the Australasian Natural Gas Vehicles Council.

Contact: Julie Marks (Senator Hill’s office) 06 277 7640

Commonwealth of Australia