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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
A special awards initiative to honour the nation's outstanding environmental achievers on the occasion of World Environment Day 2000 being hosted in Australia has attracted more than 400 entries.
The 50 finalists in the Prime Minister's Environment Awards were announced today by Federal Minister for Environment and Heritage, Robert Hill (see attached list).
"The 402 nominations came from all over Australia. They include many heart-warming stories and inspiring examples of Australians taking action to restore and to protect the environment," Senator Hill said.
The awards featured nine categories covering individuals, small and large businesses, local government, community groups, schools, rural and regional Australia, the urban environment and greenhouse initiatives.
The theme was Celebrating Excellence, Innovation and Enterprise in the Pursuit of a Sustainable Australia. This compliments the theme for World Environment Day, held on 5 June each year, of 2000 - The Environment Millennium - Time to Act.
This year is the first time that the official international celebrations for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) event have been held in Australia. Adelaide is the host city for activities running from 3-6June.
"The quality and the quantity of entries in the Prime Minister's awards bear out my belief that Australians know that it is 'Time to Act', and are out there doing it. Australians are world leaders in environmental care," Senator Hill said.
Awards winners will be announced this Sunday (4 June) by the Prime Minister, John Howard, at a luncheon in Adelaide. Senator Hill will attend the luncheon with Mr Howard and UNEP's deputy executive director, Mr Shafqat Kakakhel, will be a guest of honour.
The luncheon also features the presentation of UNEP's prestigious Global 500 Roll of Honour for Environmental Achievement awards. A number of Australians are included among the 14 new recipients of the Global 500 Award for 2000.
The Prime Minister's Environment Awards were organised by Environment Australia in partnership with the Banksia Environment Foundation, the Keep Australia Beautiful National Association, Landcare Australia, the Australian Local Government Association, the Natural Heritage Trust and the Australian Greenhouse Office.
The assessment process included a series of expert panels assembled by these partner organisations, along with other groups including the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, the Housing Industry Association and the Beverage Industry Environment Council.
The high-level independent judging panel was made up of the Clean Up Australia founder, Ian Kiernan; the Earthwatch Institute's Australian executive director, Dr Jane Gilmour; and ABC Radio's science guru, Robyn Williams.
Senator Hill today thanked the awards partners, assessment panel members and judges for their support and efforts.
"They have all made a great contribution in helping to profile the best of the best among our environmental achievers."
Media contact: Senator Hill's Office: Rod Bruem, (02) 6277 7640 0419 258 364
Environment Australia: Patrick Fletcher (02) 6274 1959
1. Australia 2000 Environment Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement
Open to Australians who have made an extraordinary individual contribution to the nation's environmental well being and the pursuit of sustainability.
Finalists: Professor Ian Lowe, Professor of Science at Queensland's Griffith University; Professor Peter Cullen, chief executive of the Canberra-based Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology; Dr Dennis Saunders, assistant chief of CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology.
2. Australian Small Business Award for Environmental Best Practice
Open to all Australia-based businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million, to highlight excellence, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit in delivering tangible environment-related benefits.
Finalists: Charlie Carp, NSW, uses river-threatening European Carp as the base ingredient for a garden fertiliser; Land and Water News, South Australia, runs high quality information service for people working in natural resource management; Goozeff Seeds, NSW, a national and international supplier of native Australian seeds; Earth Sanctuaries Ltd, South Australia, private wildlife reserves and eco-tourism; The Flat Bottle Co., Western Australia, an innovative recycler of waste glass bottles; Vermitech Pty Ltd, NSW, uses large-scale worm farming to breakdown human and animal waste.
3. Australian Business Award for Environmental Leadership
Open to all Australia-based businesses with an annual turnover of more than $2 million, to recognise an outstanding contribution to environment-related enterprise and/or implementation of sustainability principles.
Finalists: Banrock Station Wines, South Australia, mixes winemaking with wetland restoration; aXcessaustralia Projects Limited, hybrid fuel car builders; Holden, world's first application of hybrid technology to a full-sized family car; Alex Fraser Group, Victoria, for construction material recycling initiatives and environmental stewardship; Bio Grow and Organic Soils and Bark, South Australia, uses bark, sawmill waste and other organic industry residues for the production of organic soils and fertilisers; Western Mining Corporation, for public reporting of its environmental performance and mining industry leadership.
4. Sustainable Communities Award for Local Government
Open to all local authorities in Australia to honour an inspiring example of progress towards environmental, social and economic sustainability by a city, municipal or shire council.
Finalists: Coffs Harbour City Council, NSW; Whyalla City Council, South Australia; Sutherland Shire Council, NSW; Wide Bay Water, Queensland; City of Onkaparinga, South Australia.
5. Community Leadership Award for Environmental Achievement
Open to non-profit community-based groups and organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to advancing environmental well being and/or an enhanced understanding of sustainability.
Shepparton Irrigation Region Implementation, Victoria; Hopevale Aboriginal Community, Queensland; The Wilderness Society, Tasmania; Wollondilly Phosphorus Action Campaign, NSW; The Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers (ATCV); Landcare Vision, Western Australia; The Bookmark Biosphere Trust, South Australia; Olympic Landcare.
6. Young Australia Award for Environmental Achievement in Schools
Open to all primary and secondary schools/education centres to recognise an outstanding project or program that promotes awareness of environmental issues and/or sustainable solutions
Finalists: Mount St Thomas Primary, Wollongong, NSW; Walungurru School, Kintore, Northern Territory; Urrbrae Agricultural High, Adelaide, South Australia; CALM Bushrangers, Western Australia; Peppimintari School, Northern Territory.
7. Natural Heritage Trust Award for Rural and Regional Leadership
Open to the recipients of Natural Heritage Trust-funding for an inspiring project or program that highlights rural/regional commitment to environmental restoration and promotes broad community awareness and/or participation.
Finalists: Coorong Local District Action Plan Committee, South Australia; Marine Plant Ecology, Queensland Department of Primary Industries; Murray Irrigation Ltd, NSW/Victoria; Central Land Council, Land Planning Unit, Northern Territory.
8. Living Cities Award for Urban Environmental Leadership
Open to government, private sector, NGO or community-based initiatives to address urban environmental challenges such as building design and construction, transport, air and water quality, bush regeneration and waste management.
Finalists: Mike Mobbs' Sustainable House, Sydney, NSW; Bovis Lend Lease, NSW-based; Perth Zoological Gardens, Western Australia; Patawalonga and Torrens Catchment Water, Adelaide, South Australia; Lake Illawarra Authority, Wollongong, NSW; Visy Recycling, Melbourne-based; Melbourne Water, Victoria; Sutherland Shire Council, Sydney, NSW.
9. Australian Greenhouse Office Award for Innovation and Excellence
Open to all Australian-based individuals, groups, government authorities/programs, councils, companies and industry associations. This award recognises outstanding achievements in addressing greenhouse gas emissions through renewable/alternative energy initiatives, carbon sequestration, pollution abatement, public education or other measures.
Finalists: ACT Greenhouse Strategy, Canberra; Newcastle City Council, NSW; Sustainable Energy Development Authority, NSW; Energy Developments Ltd, NSW-based; BP Australia, Victoria-based.