VEHICLE EMISSION REGULATIONS
Mr CRUICKSHANK (Murrumbidgee) [5.22]: I informed the Minister for the Environment that I would be raising a matter of concern to me with regard to activities of the Environment Protection Authority that are impinging on the rights of individuals. The Minister has failed to take any action to rectify the situation. Mr Rockliff of Windemere, Dalby, Queensland, was driving a Ford Maverick four-wheel drive 4.2 litre diesel motor vehicle, and had travelled 40,000 kilometres before reaching the Murrumbidgee electorate. He was charged by the EPA because his vehicle emitted
smoke or visible particles for more than 10 seconds. Mr Rockliff was not apprehended, he was not told anything, and he was not given a defect notice, which I think would have been more than appropriate. He should have been given a defect notice telling him to get the vehicle fixed within so many days. Mr Rockliff then went on his way to Melbourne and had his car checked by the Ford agency at Urana.
Ms Machin: You wrote to me about this.
Mr CRUICKSHANK: I have written to everybody about this. The Ford agency at Urana informed Mr Rockliff that the vehicle was operating to the required standards set by the EPA. Mr Rockliff then went to the Ford agency at Broadmeadows, Victoria, and that agency told him the same story. When he got back to Queensland he spoke to people at the Ford agency in Toowoomba, who informed him that the car was performing as required. I have written to the Minister, the Hon. Chris Hartcher, about this matter. I am sorry that I have had to bring up this matter in the Chamber but, as the Minister for Consumer Affairs has rightly said, I have written to her and to the Premier about this matter. I know that people are going to say that Mr Rockliff is a Queenslander, but that is irrelevant; he was in my electorate. As far as I am concerned, the argument is now between the Minister and Ford Australia, not between the Minister and Mr Rockliff.
Mr Rockliff was fined $100 - a fine which he does not want to pay because he believes he was unjustly treated, particularly as his car was operating according to the standards. I have tried to explain to the Minister that the argument is not between the Minister and Mr Rockliff but between the Minister and Ford Australia. There is another gross inconsistency in this whole matter. Locomotives that drag wheat trains, or even locomotives in the city, produce extensive smoke emissions. I have watched some of them dragging wheat trains and I have seen smoke emitting for more than 1½ minutes. I have watched tractors going from one end of a paddock to another emitting diesel smoke when carrying heavy loads. It is totally unjust for the EPA to penalise Mr Rockliff, because his vehicle was not operating outside the guidelines. I ask the Minister for Consumer Affairs to ask the Minister for the Environment to be a little more reasonable. As I have said, I have written to everyone. I received my last response from the Minister for the Environment on 27 May, in which he stated:
I am not asking the Minister to tell the EPA to do something that it is not supposed to do, but as the EPA is obviously in conflict with its rules in relation to four-wheel drive vehicles it is the duty of the Minister to instruct it to look again at those rules. Mr Rockliff will now have to go to court and that will probably cost him $1,000. I admire him for standing up for what he believes in. He has been wrongly charged with an offence of which he believes he is not guilty. I ask the Minister for Consumer Affairs to tell the Minister for the Environment to do more than just send me letters. I received letters from the Minister for the Environment on 27 May, 27 April, 15 February, 19 January and as far back as August last year, in which the Minister said that there is nothing he can do. [Time expired.]
As I have explained previously, I do not believe it is my role to instruct the EPA . . .