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This gazette
Administered by: Environment
Published Date 04 Jan 2016

Commonwealth
of Australia

Gazette

Published by the Commonwealth of Australia

GOVERNMENT NOTICES

 

 

 

ASSISTANT SECRETARY, ASSESSMENTS (NSW, ACT) AND FUEL BRANCH,

DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT

NOTICE UNDER SECTION 17A OF THE FUEL QUALITY STANDARDS ACT 2000 CONCERNING AN APPROVAL TO VARY THE FUEL STANDARD (PETROL) DETERMINATION 2001

I, Dane Roberts, A/g Assistant Secretary, Assessments (NSW, ACT) and Fuel Branch, delegate of the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Greg Hunt, MP, provide the following information concerning the Minister’s decision to grant an approval under section 13 of the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000.

Name of approval holder

ERC Racing Fuels Pty Ltd

Period of operation

The period of operation of the approval is from 1 January 2016 until 31 December 2016.

Details of the approval

The approval varies the fuel standard for petrol set out in the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001 (the Petrol Determination) so that specialist leaded racing fuel containing any of the following parameters:

·         Lead up to 1.95 g/L

·         Methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) up to 50.4 per cent v/v

·         Oxygen up to 18.90 per cent m/m in petrol not containing ethanol

 

will be taken to comply with the lead, MTBE and oxygen parameters specified in the Petrol Determination in respect of the supply of the fuel for use in legitimate motor sport activities.

The approval applies to fuel supplied by the above company and the regulated persons specified in Annexure 1 of the approval instrument. The approval is subject to the conditions set out in Annexure 2 of the approval instrument and in section 17 of the Act.

Summary of reasons for the approval

Section 15 of the Act provides that I must have regard to certain matters when deciding whether or not to grant an approval under section 13 of that Act to vary the Petrol Determination. In addition, section 24A of the Act requires me to consult with the Fuel Standards Consultative Committee before granting an approval and to have regard to any recommendation of the Committee arising out of that consultation.

 

I am conscious of the increasing concerns about the impact of lead on both the environment, and occupational and public health and safety, which is evidenced in the National Health and Medical Research Council 2015 report on the effects of lead on human health (www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/eh58). I have also had regard to the recommendation from the Committee.

For these reasons, it is the Government’s intention to consider phasing out lead in racing fuel over one to two years, beginning in 2017.

I have granted a one year approval for this application to enable further discussion with suppliers, motor racing organisations and historic vehicle associations on the phase-out timeframe and how the industry might need to adjust its practices.

(a)      The protection of the environment

As the fuel subject to this approval is supplied and used in small quantities for motor sport activities, the higher levels of MTBE and oxygen are not expected to impact significantly on ambient air quality. However, it is uncertain about the long term risk to the environment that is caused by the ongoing use of lead in the fuel. 

We do know that the consequences of even a small amount of MTBE contaminating water sources can be significant. As such, it is a standard condition of approving a variation of the Petrol Determination in relation to fuel containing MTBE above the limit specified in that Determination, that the fuel not be used for activities occurring on fresh water lakes and waterways.

 (b)     The protection of occupational and public health and safety

Exposure to certain substances in petrol can be toxic. The risks associated with exposure to racing fuels may be higher than for petrol because of the additional substances contained in them. A variety of negative health effects can occur, depending upon the substance, the level and duration of exposure. At venues that use racing fuels, exposure may extend to drivers, team members, race officials, spectators and the immediate environment.

In the particular case of leaded racing fuels, exposure to even small amounts of lead and lead compounds can have health effects when ingested or inhaled.

(c)      The interests of consumers

Specialist leaded and unleaded racing fuels meet the needs of a niche market for specific classes of motor racing. The consumers using these fuels seek the performance and operability characteristics provided by these fuels. Without them, motor sport competitors may not be able to operate their vehicles effectively with currently employed technology.

(d)      The impact on economic and regional development

Many racing venues are located outside major population areas. Motor and water sport events provide an ongoing financial benefit to these regional communities. An immediate decision to disallow the continued and controlled supply of specialist leaded racing fuels would have an adverse impact on national motor sport competitions and the economic benefits that flow from them.  

Dane Roberts

A/g Assistant Secretary

23 December 2015