In 1995, Australian Standards Committee ME17 embarked on a review of Australian Standard 1940 (AS1940): The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids.

While many Standards are intended to provide voluntary guidance on industry practices, this particular Standard is a very significant one for the Australian fuel industry as it forms the basis of many of the Australian State/Territory regulations that govern the design installation and management of UPSS at Australia’s 6,700 service stations.

“With a raft of new laws having been introduced since AS1940 was last reviewed, we expected the new standard to be revised to provide industry guidance in key areas such as the storage of biofuels, the design and operation of vapor recovery systems and best practice for UPSS leak detection and management”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.

Having recently conducted a review of the new draft Standard, ACAPMA has concluded that the draft is merely the old Standard with a basic update of some terms and definitions.

“We are at a complete loss to understand why the new draft Standard is completely silent in these three areas of relatively longstanding regulation with respect to the storage and handling of transport fuels in Australia”, said Mark.

It is also worth noting that the Standards Committee charged with the revision of AS1940 was dominated by government representatives with just one representative of the fuel industry (AIP) – the remainder of the 22-person committee was dominated by government regulatory and safety bodies and general business groups.

“Our firm view is that Standards Australia has failed to ensure that the Standards Committee overseeing the review of this important industry standard has failed to ensure balanced representation of all stakeholders – resulting in a consensus standard that is largely devoid of fuel industry representation”, said Mark.

“In short, we believe that the publishing of this Standard in its current forum does a serious disservice to the retail fuels industry in Australia”, said Mark.

ACAPMA has provided detailed comments to the draft Standard and has made direct contact with Standards Australia seeking a halt on the publishing of the standard – and the inclusion of greater representation from the fuel retail and petroleum contracting industry.

Standards Australia has been receptive to ACAPMA’s approach and has agreed to meet with ACAPMA next week to discuss these issues in detail and explore potential solutions.

Further information on ACAPMA’s response to the draft Standard can be secured by contacting Mark McKenzie at the ACAPMA Secretariat on 1300 160 270 or emailing him via