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

28 January 2000

YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW ABOUT POLLUTION NEAR YOU


Australians will have a clearer picture of what pollutants are being discharged into their neighbourhoods following the launch of a national pollutant database.

The first National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) was launched by Federal Environment Minister Senator Robert Hill and the Victorian Minister for Environment and Conservation Ms Sherryl Garbutt at BASF Aust Ltd in Melbourne.

"Using the internet, the NPI allows all Australians to find out what large factories are discharging into the environment, as well as showing what actions a factory may be taking to reduce its emissions of pollution," Senator Hill said.

"Any facility using more than specified amounts of certain listed substances must report to the NPI. For this first year we have received nearly 1200 industry reports, which is a great start."

The NPI is designed to provide the community, industry and government with information on the types and amounts of chemicals discharged into the air, land and water.

"It will be an invaluable environmental management tool for governments, an unprecedented information resource for the community and an impetus for cleaner production for industry," Senator Hill said.

Speaking at the launch, Ms Garbutt said the NPI not only illustrated which facility was emitting certain substances, but also detailed the broader pollution issues in geographic areas and water catchments around the country.

"Importantly, State and Territory governments will report to the database on pollution levels from non-industrial sources like motor vehicles, wood-fire smoke, and even lawn mowers," she said.

"This gives the NPI a more complete picture of pollution levels in a local area or city, as well as identifying the emissions from specific facilities."

"The NPI is the result of several years of cooperation between governments and I look forward to its continued development and expansion as the Commonwealth, States and Territories work together to fine tune its operation."

In a demonstration of industry's commitment to the NPI, the Minerals Council of Australia and other industry organisations also attended the launch, extending their endorsement to the initiative. The National Pollution Inventory website is at: www.environment.gov.au/net/npi.html

Media contacts:
Rod Bruem (Senator Hill) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
Sally Gibson (Ms Garbutt) (03) 9651 5799

Commonwealth of Australia