After a myriad of delays and obfuscation that sees Australia lagging Europe by more than a decade, the Federal Government has announced that Australia will finally adopt Euro 6 emission protocols  for trucks with the Albanese Government confirming the introduction of ADR80/04 over 12 months from 1 November 2024.

The Albanese Government announced that  it will introduce  the tighter emissions standards for new trucks and buses,  proclaiming that it will save lives while preventing toxic air pollution and providing significant environmental and economic benefits for communities.

The Government pointed out that noxious emissions are a significant cause of urban air pollution. and can cause heart and lung disease as well as cancer, with children and the elderly particularly susceptible.

The new Euro 6 standards, will be introduced  almost exactly 12 years after they were imposed on heavy diesel trucks in Europe  and  around the same time Europe adopts Euro 7.

The previous conservative government continually delayed a decision on adopting Euro 6 for  almost nine years, but it has taken he new Albanese  Government less than five months ’s  to make the decision to adopt the new rules.

Most truck makers  have Euro 6  trucks on sales here already so the legislation will not be an onerous task for the manufacturers. So given most  truck makers operating in Australia already offer Euro 6 trucks for sale,  it’s not surprising that many  have been calling for the introduction of Euro 6 standards for some  years. However  exactly why the previous government resisted for so long is  still unclear.

The Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics says it estimates introducing Euro 6 will save the Australian community  approximately $6.4 billion over 25 years  as a result of  fewer premature deaths and chronic illnesses.

Euro 6 standards are already in place in the EU and the UK and equivalent standards also apply in most developed countries, including the United States and Japan, while China and India have also recently adopted equivalent standards.

Introducing Euro 6 will mean manufacturers must add the advanced safety and fuel-saving technologies to their Australian models that will help improve safety outcomes, and contribute to emissions reduction targets.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and National Transport Commission will be working with state and territory governments to make changes to ensure operators purchasing the new standard for trucks maintain productivity when the new standards become mandatory.

The Government  says that further improvements to fuel quality could help support  the introduction of tighter standards for light vehicles, known as Euro 6d. The Government says it is considering how “best to improve fuel quality and enable all new light vehicles sold in Australia to meet Euro 6d standards”.

Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government minister Catherine King said that the tighter noxious emissions standards for new trucks and buses will reduce this significant pollutant in Australia, and help reduce the number of premature deaths and chronic illnesses as a result.

“These new standards will improve air quality and health outcomes and bring safer and more efficiency trucks into Australia,” said King.

“We are committed to continuing to work with industry and state and territory governments to ensure the smooth introduction of these standards,” she added.

“Australia has been lagging in our vehicle noxious emissions standards for years now, and this move will help bring our vehicle market into the 21st century – and into line with overseas vehicle markets,” the Minister added.

 Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen said that the Albanese Government has hit the ground running in cleaning up transport pollution and reducing it’s health burden, first by reducing the amount of sulphur in our petrol and now introducing tighter noxious emissions standards for new trucks and buses.

“We’re making transport emissions cleaner and greener,” Bowen said.

Following the announcement, the HVIA was quick to congratulate the  Government on confirming the introduction of the new emission standard that brings Australian  emissions standards into line with Euro 6. 

HVIA Chief Executive Todd Hacking said the announcement will give certainty to the heavy vehicle industry at a time when the delivery time on new orders is stretching out as long as two years.

“This is a win for industry and a win for the entire Australian community,” Hacking said.

“Prior to this year’s Federal Election we said we want immediate steps to support the transition to low and zero emissions heavy vehicles and this move is a great step for the Government honouring those commitments,” the HVIA CEO said..

“We thank Minister King and  Minister  Bowen for their work that now gives our members and the broader industry the certainty they need to move forward.

“This is a vital step for Australia to keep pace with the rest of the world, however, there is no resting on our laurels – once this legislation is in place, we need to keep the momentum up and ensure regulations and standards also accommodate the transition to zero emissions vehicles,” Hacking said.

With Euro 6 now set to be introduced, the next major agenda item for the Federal Government when it comes to transport policy is the adoption of 2.55 metre width rules, to further align our rules with those of the rest of the World