EPA coordinated the review of the national air quality standards. The National Environment Protection Act 1994 established the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure (AAQ NEPM) in 1998. It provides an approach to measuring six common pollutants the same way across Australia. The pollutants are: 

  • carbon monoxide 
  • lead 
  • nitrogen dioxide 
  • photochemical oxidants (ozone) 
  • sulfur dioxide 
  • particles (PM10 and PM2.5). 

The AAQ NEPM sets air quality standards and goals for each of these pollutants.

Victoria led the review of standards set for ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide.

On 15 April 2021, the National Environment Protection Council agreed to strengthen these standards in the AAQ NEPM.

The review took into account the latest evidence of the health effects of these pollutants.

The revised AAQ NEPM standards for ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, including two more stringent standards, have been adopted into the Environment Reference Standard.

These standards are based on the latest scientific evidence and will allow for an improved level of health protection against the impacts of these pollutants for the Victorian community.

See further information about the review

All the documents related to the review are available on the National Environment Protection Council website including the Impact Statement and submissions and summary of submissions and response. The consultation for the review has now closed.

The amended AAQ NEPM is available on the Federal Register of Legislation.

National Clean Air Agreement

Environment ministers endorsed the National Clean Air Agreement (the agreement) in 2015. The 2018-2020 work plan under the agreement includes the review of the national air quality standards.

Reviewed 30 March 2022