Media release

Non-binding air pollution standards won’t save 3,000 Australian deaths a year

August 06, 2014

Proposed new non-binding air pollution limits are like voluntary speed limits – but air pollution causes twice as many deaths as  road accidents, says Environmental Justice Australia.

A new National Environment Protection Council Draft Variation to the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure was released yesterday – three years after a government review recommended that the standards be improved and that a standard for fine particle pollution be adopted.

“The proposed revision of the current standards is a welcome if belated acknowledgment of the problem. But the fact that the standards won’t be mandatory and will be non-binding is completely inadequate.” said Nicola Rivers, Director of Advocacy and Research at Environmental Justice Australia.

“This is yet another delay and inadequate regulation by Australian governments in dealing with air pollution – which contributes to the deaths of 3,000 Australians per year. 

“By the NEPC’s own admission, current Australian air quality standards are unenforceable and do not ensure any change to the quality of the air that we breathe. 

The draft variation released yesterday is unlikely to change this.

“What we really need is strong national laws to protect the air that we breathe. 

We call on Minister Hunt to commit to Commonwealth laws that will ensure that Australian communities are no longer exposed to harmful air pollution.

Skip to content