The Bulletin Board has been introduced to keep members informed of changes that will affect their work places. This may include legislation/regulations, events, employment and training updates.

AI Group Newsletter – 2017 February

You can view the February AI Group Newsletter here.


NRSIEE Update – Emissions Standards – Details and Time Table announced

Emissions Standards   – Details and Time Table announced

After a decade in planning the government has released the details and a timetable for implementation of Non-Road Spark Ignition Engines and Equipment (NRSIEE) emissions standards. To read the updated information from the Department of Environment, please click here.

The bottom line is:

  • USA EPA standards – if you want to certify in Australia; US, EU, Canadian or CARB (California) certification are approved for entry into Australia with proof of certification.
  • These are exhaust standards only.   Evaporative standards will be considered after the 2-year review.
  • No Averaging and Banking allowances for importers, but these are captured by allowing USA certification (products certified under USA ABT can be imported)
  • Low cost recovery on imports. Probably under 40 cents per $100 landed cost.
  • Everything is subject to the Parliamentary process – so it’s certainly not locked in.

The timetable through the halls of Canberra is complex, and a delay in any step will push back the future, but in brief:

  • Introduced to Parliament in the autumn session (Feb-Mar 2017)
  • Bill goes to the Senate in Winter (May-June, remembering the budget is handed down in May)
  • Rules (regulations) tabled for 15 days (August)
  • Six to nine months lag to allow for final shipments of non-compliant engines – so “D -Day” is perhaps 1 July 2018.
  • Importers and retailers will have another 12 months to sell off non-compliant products – that takes us to 1 July 2019.   This was to put a practical cap on any excessive stockpiling.

Australia has had emissions standards for automobiles since the 1970’s but until now, other petrol engines have been completely unregulated. This places Australia 18 years behind the USA, and lags Europe, Japan, Canada, even India. China started regulating non-road engine emissions in 2011, and it looks like Australia will finally catch up in 2017.

The emissions targeted are not carbon, but pollutants like hydrocarbons (blue smoke and chemical smog; responsible for a range of health and environmental concerns), and nitrous oxides (acid rain and again, a host of health concerns). The standards will also address carbon monoxide; a deadly poison that in smaller doses leads to operator fatigue and headaches.

This first round of emissions standards under the National Clean Air Agreement will target:

  • Petrol engines up to 19kW (25Hp), (marine engines of any size), with diesel following in about three years
  • Ground supported equipment (mowers, generators, pumps etc.) will need to meet a tough standard that has only ever been met by four strokes (and in marine, four stroke and direct injection two stroke)
  • Hand held equipment (chainsaws, brushcutters etc.) which need the ability of a two stroke to operate at all angles. We will see a relaxed standard that is already met by many of the well-known brands
  • The end of many of the ‘brand x’ products, which are often seen as cheap and cheerful buy low quality consumer products. This will include four and two stroke products and even grey market imports that cannot meet certification requirements.

For many brands, this will be an easy change. It is estimated that 52 per cent of the small engine products sold in Australia already meet the standards so new workshop training or parts inventory will be needed.

The USA EPA has become the defacto world standard and is already being used in Canada and Japan with the EU harmonising with the US Standards in 2019. Australian emissions standards will replicate the USA standard.

Getting ready

It is never too late to start getting ready. Here is what we have been saying:

  1. Do not ‘bet’ the company on the timing. This legislation has been on and off again since 2012, so until we see the laws in parliament, do not make any irreversible financial commitments.
  2. Do not overstock with non-complaint product. It may be tempting to fill a warehouse with cheap high emission products before the law commences, but do not get stuck with stock that needs to be destroyed or re-exported at great expense when the anti-stockpiling window closes a year later. Remember consumers will be wary or buying ‘dead” stock.
  3. Change over existing models to US specifications. You may already be importing clean, modern engines that probably meet the standard, but unless it is exactly the same variant as is sold in Alabama or Florida, and you have a copy of the USA EPA certificate, it will not get though Australian customs. We have heard of several cases where Australian importers have been told their products are the same as the USA variant, only to discover they were getting a nearly identical international variant, but without USA certification. I know this sounds fussy, but you need to be pedantic with your overseas manufacturer now, and to collect copies of USA EPA certificates for all your products. Your customs agent will soon need these.
  4. If you manufacture machinery in Australia, collect the same USEPA Certificates from your engine supplier.

If it is later found that products you imported did not meet the USA specs, then the fine will be the least of your worries. Customs often insist that the non-compliant products are recalled, destroyed or re-exported. That can be very expensive for both your bank balance and reputation.

Authors: Gary Fooks, Blue Sky Alliance & Robert Baker, OPEA Executive 



OPEA introduce a new membership position to support our members

The Outdoor Power Equipment Association (OPEA) is delighted to announce the introduction of a new position to support members and potential members; a Membership Development Officer.

Geoff Pearce has accepted the position and comes with a wealth of industry knowledge to support manufacturers; suppliers; dealers and students in the outdoor power equipment sector.

Geoff Pearce has been in the outdoor power equipment sector for well over 20 years; working with manufacturers and as the owner of a dealership in Victoria.

In the membership role Geoff will be contacting and visiting current and potential members to learn more about their business; identifying issues the OPEA can support them with; and to share information about the activities OPEA have been working on and are working on. There have been several changes over the past 12 months including the change to the emission standards (due to be implemented July 2018) and the continuing development within the OPE training sector.

We congratulate Geoff and look forward to working with him and our members over the coming months.

To learn more about the Association visit today or email Geoff at!


NRSIEE Update paper released [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

An update paper has now been released which details how the new standards will be implemented, including their linkage to international standards, when they will come into force, which NRSIEE products they will apply to and what requirements will be placed on importers and suppliers of these products to the Australian market.

The update paper – ‘Working towards Australian emission standards for non-road spark ignition engines and equipment’ is available via the department’s dedicated NRSIEE website at:

Further background information regarding the development of the new emission standards is available on the department’s website at:


OPEA Executive Committee


Report on the OPEA AGM –19th August 2016 in NSW by the Power Equipment Australia Magazine.


Leadership, representation & cooperation

In 2015/16, the Outdoor Power Equipment Association (OPEA) has delivered on its intention to listen and act on important issues and has seen a great deal of progress as a result. Lauren Butler reports on the recent AGM.

OPEA continues to support its members with training, advice and importantly, industry representation to government. It has been reassuring to see OPEA’s ongoing leadership amongst manufacturers, distributors and dealers, particularly at a crucial point in the introduction of emission standards and ongoing consideration of evaporative laws.

The AGM, held at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney on August 19, saw the introduction of standards discussed in length, alongside updates on training and manufacturing. As always, members were also presented with the president and treasurer’s reports, alongside a statistics report. With many members based in Victoria, and flight delays due to bad weather, attendance to the event was pleasing at 25 members.

Emission Standards

The introduction of emission standards is drawing closer, after more than a decade of preparation, and was widely covered at this year’s AGM. OPEA has been cooperating with its members, as well as other peak bodies and government representatives, to see standards for non-road spark ignition engines and equipment (NRSIEE) introduced in 2017, with evaporative laws a possibility for 2019. OPEA welcomed key note speaker, Mr Declan O’Connor Cox, Director of Air Quality Section, Department of the Environment, to provide an update on the introduction of standards and the next steps in their finalisation.

Mr O’Connor Cox reported that the introduction of national emission standards is being worked towards with hopes to reduce air pollution for personal and environmental health. This is expected to create an estimated $636 million of total net benefit between 2016 and 2035 in avoided health costs, and will also contribute to meeting Australia’s greenhouse gas emission reduction obligations.

As well as NRSIEE, potential evaporative laws and their limitations were discussed. There are some challenges associated with evaporative laws, and these are therefore still in consideration. According to Mr O’Connor Cox, Europe does not currently have any evaporative laws in place, meaning that if evaporative laws were introduced in Australia, European certified products could not be recognised. With the US currently the only country with standards for evaporative emissions, Australia could face significant limitations in terms of buying and importing products from international manufacturers, including those which are currently approved for importation.

Mr O’Connor Cox told members that the proposed requirements will vary depending on the type of NRSIEE. In general the legislation will allow for:

  • Prohibiting the import, manufacture and supply of NRSIEE that do not meet the standards
  • Certifying new domestic and imported NRSIEE products, noting that many NRSIEE products already certified by the US EPA and other jurisdictions with equivalent standards would be recognised in Australia
  • Cost recovery options to support government administration of the standards
  • Flexibility to allow for a timely and orderly transition to the new standards.

He said that government is considering options such as limited and specified exemptions, phase-in timeframes as well as averaging and banking to allow for engine families that, on average, meet the standards.

He also acknowledged that the introduction of standards will take time and that the industry should be given time to prepare for compliance.

“The industry will need a substantial amount of time to adapt. We think a time period of about two years is reasonable,” he said.

For importers of equipment, it is suggested that copies of US EPA (or equivalent) be requested before committing. It is also recommended that they have exporters send a picture of the EPA emission label before purchasing, and inspect products pre-shipping where possible.

Guest speaker, Mr Gary Fooks from Blue Sky Alliance, updated members on who will be responsible for ensuring compliance and how to be prepared for the introduction of standards. According to Mr Fooks, responsibility falls with importers, manufacturers and owners when it comes to compliance. He said that it should be noted that modifying an engine in any way may affect an engine’s compliance. Mr Fooks encouraged members to source compliant components, change suppliers if necessary and run out stocks of non-compliant components as much as possible.

For a full report on preparing for the introduction of emission standards, see pages 25-26 of the August/September issue of Power Equipment Australasia.

Manufacturing in Australia

Guest speaker and Ai Group’s senior economist, Mr David Richardson presented a report on manufacturing in Australia, providing an insightful industry overview for members. Mr Richardson reported that growth areas in manufacturing include food, health and building, with less growth in ‘heavy’ categories. He also informed members that manufacturing recovery is continuing, and that the industry is seeing the longest growth phase in well over a decade. While unit labour costs have increased, so too have productivity levels, though according to Mr Richardson, Australia still ranks poorly on an international level.  Even with an increase in productivity, pressures continue with few large industries achieving the productivity gains they need.


Also guest speaking at the OPEA AGM was VERTO Training’s Ms Kim Stapleton. Kim encouraged members to consider a variety of training options, commenting that staff training benefits include better staff morale and retention, higher levels of productivity and a greater ownership of skills.

When training staff, Ms Stapleton said that recognition of prior learning (RPL) and recognising what the industry already asks in terms of training, is important to consider.

“By using what each company has already developed and what is best practice, we can promote productivity and upskilling with in the industry,” Ms Stapleton said.

With helpful instructions on available training and the benefits and incentives available to employers, members were encouraged to increase low levels of training in the workplace.

Working with dealers

OPEA Treasurer, Mr Peter Wallace, reported that OPEA has achieved some of the outcomes they set out to accomplish; however, more work needs to be done with dealers. According to Mr Wallace, OPEA will commence a drive to attract and engage with more dealers in the next 12 months, and a strategy for this is currently in development.

He also reported that there was an increase in fees for statistics, as members were seeking ongoing services through strategic data.

Mr Stephen Clark also addressed OPEA’s desire to work with dealers in his president’s report, stating that an apprenticeship program to assist dealers had started, with less than expected up-take. OPEA is hopeful that up-take will increase and that the program will be successful.

The new OPEA Board

There have been a number of significant changes in the OPEA Board over the past 12 months, including a change in presidency following previous president Mr Gareth Taylor’s exit from the industry. Mr Clark recognised and thanked Mr Taylor for his contributions as president. The 2016 AGM saw many existing Board members take on new positions, and also welcomed new Board members. All nominations were received and accepted, and no vote was required. The Board for the coming year will comprise of:

  • President – Stephen Clark (Husqvarna)
  • Vice President (Emissions) – Rob Baker (Stihl)
  • Treasurer – Peter Wallace (Briggs and Stratton)
  • Secretary – Tim McCarthy (EPG)
  • Statistics – Patric Soussan (Toro)
  • Training – Lincoln Bowden (Honda)
  • Dealer Representative – Rohan Sutherland (Dawn Mowers)
  • Executive Member – Luke Turner (MTD)