Vehicle safety & the environment
The Department is responsible for managing policy and standards development on vehicle safety, emissions, vehicle noise and fuel consumption labelling.
The Department administers the Australian Design Rules under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 and provides input on fuel quality issues, manages the environmental criteria for the fuel tax credit for heavy diesel vehicle operators and hosts and manages the Green Vehicle Guide website.
Consultation on Light and Heavy Vehicle Emission Standards for Cleaner Air
The department has released two consultation papers that evaluate whether the Australian Government should mandate more stringent standards to reduce noxious emissions from road vehicles in Australia.
A copy of these consultation papers can be accessed on the Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions page.
The Australian Design Rules (ADRs) are national standards for vehicle safety, anti-theft and emissions. The ADRs are generally performance based and cover issues such as occupant protection, structures, lighting, noise, engine exhaust emissions, braking and a range of miscellaneous items.
ADRs and the Environment
Motor vehicles are a significant contributor to urban air pollution and noise that can impact on the quality of life in our major cities.
To date, the principal measure used in Australia for reducing vehicle emissions and noise has been the through the introduction of tighter standards for new vehicles through the Australian Design Rules (ADRs).
These ADRs are made under Section 7 of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 and set the standards that each vehicle model is required to meet, prior to their first supply to the market. The full text of all ADRs is available on the Federal Register of Legislation, and this site can be accessed from the numerical ADR list. The current ADRs addressing emissions, noise and fuel consumption labelling are:
- ADR30/01—Smoke Emission Control for Diesel Vehicles
- ADR79/04—Emission Control for Light Vehicles (‘Full’ Euro 5—applicable to all vehicles manufactured from November 2016)
- ADR80/03—Emission Control for Heavy Vehicles (Euro V with equivalent US and Japanese alternatives)
- ADR81/02—Fuel Consumption Labelling for Light Vehicles
- ADR83/00—External Noise
For further information see:
Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions
On 31 October 2015, the Australian Government announced a whole of government review of vehicle emissions through the establishment of a Ministerial Forum. The Ministerial Forum is chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, the Hon Michael McCormack MP.
The Ministerial Forum is examining a range of options to reduce the impacts of road vehicle emissions, including more stringent (Euro 6/VI) noxious emissions standards, improved fuel quality standards, measures to support new vehicle technologies and infrastructure, and emission testing arrangements.
Further information such as draft Regulation Impact Statements and Discussion Papers are available on the Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions page.
The Green Vehicle Guide (GVG) website provides information about the environmental performance of new light vehicles (up to 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass) sold in Australia since mid-2004. It is updated regularly as new models come onto the market and contains detailed information to helps consumers identify the performance of individual vehicle models.
Information provided for each vehicle helps consumers compare the fuel consumption and the level of emissions of different vehicles and consequently their impact on the environment.
Fuel Tax Credit For Heavy Diesel Vehicles: Guidelines for Environmental Criteria
Under the fuel tax credit arrangements that applied from 1 July 2006, businesses wishing to seek a fuel tax credit for the use of diesel fuel in a heavy road vehicle must satisfy one of four environmental performance criteria to be eligible for the credit.
As vehicle emissions control technology becomes more sophisticated, the quality of the fuels is critical. The Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 managed by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources provides the capacity for the Australian Government to set limits on those fuel parameters which impact on environmental/health objectives, vehicle technology and vehicle operation. The standards in place for petrol, diesel, LPG and biodiesel address fuel properties that are considered important in facilitating the adoption of emerging vehicle engine and emission control technologies, and in managing ambient levels of pollutants identified as posing health and environmental problems.