Dear OPEA Members,

Summer is now upon us and the holiday season is only a few weeks away.

I would like to take this opportunity to firstly wish you all a safe and peaceful Christmas to enjoy quality time with family.

I would personally like to thank you for your support of the Outdoor Power Equipment Association over the past 12 months where we have seen substantial changes.  Your continued support is critical to our mutual success.

As I have echoed previously, the OPEA exists to drive the OPE industry specific agenda on behalf of all members.  So if you have an issue you believe strongly in, we want to hear it.   I further encourage you to consider joining the executive committee in order to have your thoughts heard and help drive change and improvement for the entire industry.

The past year has witnessed strong change for the OPEA.  The most important OPEA news item is the upcoming announcement by the Federal Environment Minister – Mr Greg Hunt regarding the change to the small engine emission standards for Australia. The announcement will signal a massive and positive shift; ensuring product coming into Australia would need to meet globally accepted EPA standards.

Take a moment to consider the improved health and environmental benefits through the creation of emission standards for the approximately 1million small engines that are sold annually in Australia.  Non-compliant product would in effect be stopped at our borders.  Our industry will benefit from the changes and the benefit should not be underestimated.

The OPEA Executive Committee has been a passionate supporter and driver for changes to emission standards over many years; remaining constant and unified throughout.  This unified voice has been presented to government throughout 2015, and the sheer determination of Minister Hunt and his team will bring Australia in line with the rest of the world; and we are confident a positive outcome is close.

The Training Sub-Committee has also seen considerable change over the past year with the OPEA partnering with the Australian Industry Group.  This partnership will support members to: identify potential apprentices; establish apprentices in the workplace; consolidate relationships with RTO’s; and continue to develop RPL and trainee courses for the industry. We will continue to update you on changes or improvements in this area in 2016.

Thank you for your support in 2015 and I look forward to meeting our members as we introduce a general meeting commencing in 2016.

Kind regards,

Gareth Taylor
OPEA President


Yesterday’s announcement from the Meeting of State and Federal Environment Ministers gave the final green light for non-road spark-ignition engine emissions standards. This will bring Australia in line with the USA who lead the world in emissions standards for petrol engine equipment including lawn mowers, outboards, chain saws and generators.
The Ministers had made an “in principle” agreement at their July meeting, which started the ball rolling with a Working Group formed of industry, government and public community representatives formed to advise how best to implement standards for Australia. That report is due before the end of December.

The timetable after December is not locked in. But according to Gary Fooks, Chair of the Blue Sky Alliance and member of the working group “If we stick to the ambitious program set by Minister Hunt, that would see and Exposure Draft of the Legislation released early 2016 and the Bill introduced before June 2016. Actual commencement of the standards would depend on passage of the legislation through Parliament and industry advice on phasing-in.” All representatives of the Working Group agreed that the introduction of standards should progress to the next steps as soon as possible. The Working Group has played an important role in advising on key settings for the implementation of the standards, such as exemptions, phase-ins for certain engine categories and how to most efficiently monitor compliance across the industry.

Asked if that meant no more two stroke lawn mowers or outboards after July Gary was quick to point out “let’s be clear, these laws are not an attack on any one technology: we will still have quality two cycle technology hand held products like chainsaws, and of course Direct Injection two stroke outboards, but yes, four strokes will be the most common engine type for ground supported product in the future.”

Any phase in is likely to be limited. Existing dealer stock gets exempted as the laws should only apply to new imports. And of course no law will ban what the public already has in the garage.

OPEA has long recommended moving immediately to USA Phase 2 but delay meeting the current US standard until the existing EU standard matches the US in 2019.

Fuel system evaporative standards may be delayed until June 2017, to allow Australian tank manufacturers to develop the technology already employed in the USA

In the end, the choice will be up to the Minister to decide based on the advice he has received.

An Extract from the Ministers’ Statement:

Ministers agreed to introduce emission standards for new non-road spark ignition engines (such as garden equipment and marine outboard motors). Non-road spark ignition engines are a significant contributor to air pollution. The introduction of new standards will bring Australia into line with existing international standards, particularly those in North America. Ministers also noted that a working group of experts is on track to provide interim advice this year on implementing the standards, with the aim of introducing legislation into Federal Parliament in mid-2016.

Gareth Taylor
OPEA President


You can view the December AI Group Newsletter here.

This issue includes:

  •  Christmas Party Risk List: The Top 5
  •  Bold National Innovation And Science Agenda
  •  Australian PSI®: Disappointing Start To Christmas Trading Season
  •  Australian PCI®: Construction Growth Eases In November
  •  New Data Reveals VET Participation
  •  Have Your Say: Doing Business With Europe