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

22 June 2000


Australia's leading construction companies are now recycling up to 87 per cent of their waste, according to new figures released for the national WasteWise program.

Environment Minister Robert Hill congratulated WasteWise partners on well exceeding national targets of 50 per cent waste reduction by 2000.

"The building industry - including construction associations - has voluntarily taken up this environmental challenge and is achieving remarkable results," Senator Hill said. 'With up to 40 per cent of all landfill estimated to have come from construction sites in the past, this is excellent news for the environment.

"I am pleased to announce that the Government will build on this success by sponsoring new awards for resource efficiency, and by releasing new guidelines for waste reduction.

"It also gives me great pleasure to welcome two new partners to WasteWise - Thiess Contractors (NSW) Pty Ltd, and the Institution of Engineers Australia.

"Thiess brings a strong commitment to environmental best practice and some new and innovative waste management techniques.

"The Institution brings not only enormous influence and expertise to the program as a major professional association, but also an advanced environmental program that is introducing sustainability into engineering practice.'

Senator Hill said the new Waste Reduction Guidelines and an accompanying Survey of Federal, State and Territory Waste Management Arrangements would assist the construction industry to improve its waste management practices.

"The Government is also developing a new set of Good Design Guides to advance waste minimisation at the design stage of construction,' he said.

"As well, the Resource Efficiency Awards in the Master Builders Australia's annual national awards night will reward innovative practices such as the use of recycled products, and the use of technologies that conserve resources such as water."

Senator Hill said the environmental management system implemented by WasteWise partner Bovis Lend Lease at the National Museum site was an excellent example of waste minimisation best practice.

"Everything has been considered - the health of the lake through sediment control, reducing dust emissions, maintaining the health of the trees, and waste management," he said.

"By careful design, waste separation, on and off site recycling, reducing packaging, returning waste to suppliers and good project management, the WasteWise partners are proving that sensible cooperation between government and industry can exceed the environmental standards imposed by regulation."

Latest reports by WasteWise partners show that since the beginning of Phase ll in 1998 Bovis Lend Lease Pty Ltd has diverted from landfill over a quarter of a million tonnes of waste nationally, (75 per cent of the total) through reuse, recycling and reprocessing. On their NSW sites 87 per cent of waste was recycled.

The John Holland Group has recycled 87 per cent of waste (40,000 cubic metres) nationally, while Project Coordination (Australia) Pty recycled 68 per cent of waste in their Canberra hospital projects despite limited work space and continued hospital operations.

From one Sydney apartment project, Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd moved 44,000 tonnes of excavated sandstone and shale in 2900 truck and trailer loads to a wastewater treatment project to create an overflow pond and wetlands habitat for the Green and Golden Bell frog.

"Construction associations are also playing a leading role by promoting waste management to members, providing training, developing waste minimisation codes of practice and producing guides and accreditation systems," Senator Hill said.

"'All our WasteWise partners are improving their commercial profiles here and overseas and I invite other construction companies, designers, material suppliers, demolition contractors and industry associations to join the program."

The 13 industry partners are: The Australian Institute of Building; The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects; Barclay Mowlem Construction Ltd; Bovis Lend Lease Pty Ltd; The Civil Contractors Federation; The Housing Industry Association;The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia; John Holland Group Pty Ltd; Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd; Project Coordination (Australia) Pty Ltd; Taylor and Oppenheim Architects, and Thiess Constructions.

More information, including the summaries of Phase II reports by all WasteWise Partners, is on the WasteWise website at:

Media contacts
Rod Bruem (Senator Hill's office); (02) 6277 7640 0419 258 364
Shane McWhinney (Environment Australia) (02) 6274 1700

22 June 2000

Commonwealth of Australia