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