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

25 May 2000


People who buy environmentally sound new homes can now obtain cheaper mortgages.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill today congratulated the Housing Industry Association (HIA) and a major bank on producing a 'GreenSmart' home loan that could mean significant savings for homeowners in both mortgage repayments and home running costs.

'This is Australia's first environmental home loan product, developed under the HIA's Partnership Advancing the Housing Environment (PATHE) program," Senator Hill said. 'It shows once again that best environmental results come from partnerships with the private sector, communities and industry.'

The HIA estimates that the GreenSmart Home Loan negotiated with the Macquarie Bank will cut monthly payments by $23 a month on an average $150 000 home loan.

The PATHE program is the residential building industry's first national, comprehensive environment initiative, launched in May 1999. With $330 000 in Federal funding for its first year the program aims to improve the environmental and energy efficiency practices of the residential building sector.

As part of the program, HIA became the first organisation to join the Federal Government's WasteWise Construction and Greenhouse Challenge programs at the same time.

'As a result environmental aspects are now being integrated into housing design, construction and demolition,' Senator Hill said.

Four GreenSmart Homes are being built at Sydney's Homeworld Village, and the HIA is hosting seminars in regional and metropolitan centres on environmental issues and energy efficiency. The recent inaugural PATHE GreenSmart Awards night rewarded members of the industry who are incorporating environmental credentials into their work.

Other PATHE activities include the release of environmental guidelines on stormwater management, energy efficiency, and waste management.

'Accelerating improvements in the environmental performance of business and industry is critical to restore the Australian environment,' Senator Hill said. 'That is why the recent Federal Budget included an extra $4.2 million to work with business on eco-efficiency.

'The GreenSmart home loan is an excellent example of how government and industry can work together to achieve win-win outcomes, benefiting the environment and the economy,' Senator Hill said.

25 May, 2000

Media contact: Rod Bruem (Senator Hill's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia