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

21 July 2000

CHEMCOLLECT - CLEAR YOUR PROPERTY OF UNWANTED CHEMICALS


Farmers around Australia can take advantage of a one-off offer to rid their properties of hazardous chemicals under the national ChemCollect program.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill today encouraged all landholders to find out about the free collection program, run jointly by the Federal, State and Territory governments.

ChemCollect is about to start in Tasmania and Queensland with NSW soon to follow. It is already under way in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria and is complete in the Northern Territory and ACT.

Senator Hill thanked those landholders who have already cleared their properties of unwanted chemicals under ChemCollect.

'Many farmers have taken this opportunity to clean up their properties in recent weeks, with over 90 tonnes of chemicals collected so far,' Senator Hill said. 'By the end of the program, all Australian primary producers will have had the opportunity to take part.'

ChemCollect paves the way for ChemClear, under which the farm chemical supply industry and the National Farmers Federation have agreed to manage, collect and dispose of farm chemical waste.

The Commonwealth is contributing up to $13.5 million to ChemCollect with a matching amount from the States and Territories, bringing the total to $27 million over three years. ChemCollect is run on an area-by-area basis and is coordinated by the relevant State environment protection authority.

It targets organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) including DDT, chlordane, dieldrin, aldrin, heptachlor, lindane, hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and chlorinated phenols such as pentachlorophenol, unwanted registered pesticides and other hazardous rural chemicals.

'Although most of these chemicals have not been in use since the 1970s it is estimated that there are still 1300 tonnes of potentially dangerous pesticides on rural properties,' Senator Hill said. 'Under ChemCollect, licensed professional contractors will collect, store, transport, treat and dispose of as many of them as possible.

'In most regions, collections will be coordinated at temporary sites. There are guidelines available for how to transport your chemicals safely to the collection sites - preferably in their original containers and with labels attached.'

The program is expected to have covered all Australia by the end of 2002. After this date, unwanted chemicals will be collected under the ChemClear program. More information about the national program, State timetables and contacts is attached.

21 July 2000

Contacts:
Matt Brown, Senator Hill's Office, 6277 7640; 0419 693 515
Peter Burnett, Environment Australia, 02 6250 0270

Commonwealth of Australia