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THE minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen has indicated he and transport minister Catherine King are open to taking on board ‘considered suggestions’ that would help the car industry to comply with the New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES) when it starts next January 1.

This is a hopeful sign for the  Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA) and the Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA) which have been using US expert Barbara Kiss to bring concrete suggestions and her experience to the table from when she worked with US regulators as they framed their emissions rules. 

The local NVES rules are based on those used in America. 

The minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen

Talking with David Speers on the ABC Insiders program, Mr Bowen said that he and Ms King “chose to consult”. 

“We didn’t have to. We could have just introduced this legislation. We chose to consult because we want to make sure we’ve hoovered up all the good ideas about how to implement this.

“So, where an idea has been made to us sensibly, we will consider it sensibly in good faith to help the implementation of what is a big and complicated policy space. 

“If people come along and say, listen, we understand why you’re trying to do this and here’s our idea as to how you could do it most easily and how, whether it’s dealers or

other people, how we could most sensibly comply … where it’s been designed to help us implement this and enhance the implementation. 

“Catherine and I take an approach of consultation, of careful collaboration with industry. We are not going to be sort of bullied out of proceeding with a policy which is in the best interest of the

Australian people and nor would the Australian people want us to.

US expert Barbara Kiss

DAVID SPEERS: You’ve just said you are willing to make sensible and good faith changes. Have you heard sensible and good faith suggestions through this process?

CHRIS BOWEN: I’m not going to sort of start ruling in or out or making announcements. But, yes, of course, there have been people of goodwill, both in the industry and elsewhere who said, we agree with your ambition, we agree with what you’re trying to do, and here’s some ideas about how we think the implementation could be done as smoothly as possible. 

“Of course, that’s been my approach in every portfolio I’ve had. That’s Catherine’s approach. You work with people to achieve the government’s objectives,” Mr Bowen said

By John Mellor

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