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21 February 2002
LIBERAL SENATOR FOR TASMANIA, RICHARD COLBECK
LAUNCESTON CITY COUNCIL ALDERMAN, TONY PECK
Launceston residents will be able to breathe easier this winter thanks to a major Commonwealth Government program to reduce woodsmoke in the Tamar Valley.
Representing the Commonwealth Environment and Heritage Minister, Dr David Kemp, Senator for Tasmania Richard Colbeck said the Government has allocated $500,000 for Round Two of the $2.05 million Launceston Woodheater Replacement Program.
"The Replacement Program is a part of the $2.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust and is designed to improve Launceston's air quality," Senator Colbeck said.
"In the first half of this year 1000 Launceston woodheater owners are eligible for a grant of up to $500 to help them with the costs of a replacement home heater that is less polluting. Woodheater replacements include non-wood alternatives such as heaters using electricity, gas or oil.
"While we are trying to discourage people from burning wood, householders still wanting to heat their houses with woodheaters don't miss out. A $250 grant to replace existing woodheater with one that meets an emissions standard of 2.0 grams of particulate emissions per kilogram of wood burnt - below the Australian standard - is also available.
"The second round of the Replacement Program builds on the success of Round One where $100,000 was allocated to Launceston households that opted to replace their woodheaters mainly with fixed electric heaters or heat pumps.
"Round Two sees an expansion of the Program with more grants available and the replacement criteria widened to include open fire places and rental properties.
"I'd like to encourage all Launceston residents with a woodheater to apply for grant to replace it with a less polluting heater - we all need to work together to address Launceston's serious air quality problems.
"To be eligible for a grant, a householders existing woodheater or fireplace must be the main source of their heating, and the proposed replacement heater able to heat the main living area of the home. Applicants will also need to prove that they have removed and disposed of their old woodheater or disabled their fireplace," Senator Colbeck said.
Launceston Alderman Tony Peck said the Council was pleased the Commonwealth Government has expanded the Woodheater Replacement Program.
"When less smoke emissions are entering the air Launceston residents should enjoy significantly improved health and quality of life.
"To complement the Woodheater Replacement Program the Council are running a targeted community education campaign where owners of smoky chimneys will be delivered information on how to reduce their emissions," Alderman Peck said.
Guidelines and application forms for Round Two of the Program are available from the Launceston City Council Service Centre or by telephoning the Environment Australia Program Manager in Launceston on 6323 3305.
21 February 2002
Senator Colbeck's office: Ph 03 6334 1755
Alderman Peck's office: Ph 03 6323 3123