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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

16 February 2000

GOVERNMENT AIMS FOR SUSTAINABLE GOAL


Environment Minister Robert Hill has welcomed the tabling of the first 'report card' looking at how Commonwealth departments measure up in terms of achieving ecologically sustainable development (ESD).

Senator Hill said the Productivity Commission report, Implementation of Ecologically Sustainable Development by Commonwealth Departments and Agencies, reveals significant progress in achieving ESD goals.

"ESD is looking at issues from environment, economic and social points of view. There is clear evidence that sound economic performance and good environmental outcomes are complimentary" Senator Hill said.

"The report highlights a number of the Government's achievements in balancing good environmental outcomes with economic performance".

"For example, the Natural Heritage Trust delivers on-ground environmental outcomes and it also improves the livelihood and sustainability of regional Australia.

"The Government's Ocean Policy is not just about enhancing the protection of our unique marine environments, it is also about ensuring the ongoing competitiveness and sustainability of the industries that depend on marine resources.

"The New Tax system will not only improve the efficiency of the economy, it will also provide sustainable revenue for government's social and environmental expenditure. For example, an additional 896 million dollars has been provided for environmental programs over the next four years."

The Productivity Commission Report also highlights some areas where there is scope for improvement, including reporting of environmental performance.

"A number of the Productivity Commission recommendations will be addressed by the Government's new Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act," Senator Hill said.

"The new legislation requires that all Commonwealth departments, authorities and agencies must report annually on how their actions accord with ESD principles," Senator Hill said.

The report is available on-line at www.pc.gov.au

Media contact: Rod Bruem (02) 6277 7640

Commonwealth of Australia