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

20 June 2000

COMMONWEALTH BACKING FOR DERBY TIDAL POWER STUDY


The Howard Government today announced the appointment of independent consultants to assess the feasibility of the proposed Derby Tidal Energy Project in Western Australia.

Environment Minister Robert Hill said a consortium headed by KPMG and supported by SMEC had successfully tendered to undertake the due diligence study.

"The Derby Tidal Energy project is one of the most exciting renewable energy proposals seen in Australia, harvesting the power of the big West Kimberley tides," Senator Hill said.

"As well as promising a renewable energy source and reducing greenhouse emissions the project has the potential to put Australia at the forefront in the development of tidal power technology.

"The due diligence study announced today will provide the information required to decide whether the project is financially feasible.

"The Commonwealth has already offered a $1 million dollars in support to Derby Tidal Energy through our Renewable Energy Commercialisation Programme should the study prove positive and the project proceed.

"This opportunity must not be lost to assess the technical and economic feasibility of harnessing the massive tidal energy of the Kimberley region.

"It's not likely another chance to develop tidal power in the region will come up for many years should a fossil-fuelled alternative be selected by the Western Australian government."

The Minister said community support in the West Kimberley region was growing strongly for the Derby project.

"In the light of this I hope the Western Australian government does not make any decision until the Commonwealth completes its assessment," he added.

20 June 2000

Media Contact: Rod Bruem 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia