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