The Turnbull Government's announcement yesterday of a Ministerial Forum to look at vehicle emissions standards puts off even the possibility of implementing any standards until after March 2017.
"The government's inaction on fuel efficiency is continuing to cost Australian drivers money and pollute the climate," Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and climate change spokesperson, said.
"Australian cars already guzzle more fuel than other developed nations, and we are at risk of becoming a dumping ground for the world's dirtiest cars, with our non-existent fuel efficiency standards putting us way behind Europe, the USA, China, India and Japan.
"In the wake of the VW scandal, finally the Turnbull Government has taken some notice of this mounting problem but its announcement of a Ministerial Forum delays even the possibility of implementing mandatory standards until after 2017.
"For years, the Climate Change Authority, experts, air quality campaigners and community members have been calling for mandatory vehicle efficiency and pollution standards that bring us up to speed with the rest of the world.
"Now the government is telling them to wait for at least another year and a half without any guarantee of a decent mandatory standard.
"The Greens have a bill ready to go in the Senate which would bring our fleet to up to the European Union's 2020 standard by 2023, saving Australian drivers about $850 a year in fuel for new cars.
"Reducing vehicle emissions is the lowest cost way of cutting climate pollution. We need more than supportive rhetoric from the big parties, we need this fast-tracked and in place for the next financial year.
"It doesn't make sense to keep delaying mandatory vehicle emissions standards, which are good for our climate, health and family budgets," Senator Waters said.