Improving our air quality: The next phase of Australia’s emissions standards

We can all play a role in reducing air pollution. One way we can protect human health and the environment is to stop high-emitting products from entering Australia. This is where Australia’s product emissions standards for outdoor power equipment and marine engines are helping.

How the standards help us keep Australia’s air clean

In 2018 new emissions standards commenced for outdoor power equipment and marine engines, bringing us inline with international standards. These products can contribute up to 10 per cent of air pollution in urban areas at peak times.

The standards apply to new non-road spark-ignition engines used in outdoor power equipment such as lawn mowers, generators, whipper snippers, and marine vessels such as outboard engines and personal watercraft. The standards regulate the import, supply and manufacture of these products. 

By regulating these products, we are ensuring that less pollutants enter the air. The standards are estimated to deliver $1.7 billion in avoided health costs over 20 years. 

Products with engines that have been certified to standards by one of the following international authorities will meet the Australian standards: the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the European Union (Stage II and Stage V), Environment and Climate Change Canada and Californian Air Resources Board. All engines and equipment need to have the relevant emissions label. 

What do importers and retailers need to know?

Since July 2018, importers and manufacturers have been required to ensure that imported or domestically manufactured products are certified as meeting the Australian standards and are correctly labelled, or have an exemption from meeting the standards. 

From 1 July 2020, retailers of outdoor power equipment and marine engines must ensure that any products they supply also meet these requirements. This phase-in approach gives industry time to transition to compliant products.

The offences relating to the supply of emissions-controlled products was originally due to commence on 1 July 2019. A one-off extension providing an additional 12 months was granted in response to concerns raised by industry about the impacts of the drought on product demand. This allowed time to sell any remaining uncertified stock prior to the new commencement date of 1 July 2020.

After this date, supplying, as well as selling, non-compliant products will be an offence. This includes supplying as a giveaway, as part of a deal or as a special offer when supplying another product. The types of penalties that could apply if you do not comply with the emissions standards include infringement notices (fines) and forfeiture of products.

What are the transitional provisions for European products?

The product emissions standards take a phased approach to European certified products, in line with Europe’s transition from Stage II to Stage V products. 

From 1 July 2020, European-certified products that are imported into Australia must meet Euro Stage V emissions standards. 

Euro Stage II products can continue to be supplied in Australia up until 30 June 2021, after which only Euro Stage V can be supplied. 

European certification numbers, also referred to as ‘type approval numbers’, are located on the type approval certificate and should be on the corresponding emissions label on the engine. A guidance document on certification numbers is available for download on the Department’s website. 

If you are unsure how the emissions standards apply to you, or have any questions about the upcoming supply offence and transitional provisions, contact the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment on 1800 803 772 or visit environment.gov.au/emissions-standards.