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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
Senator The Hon Robert Hill Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Bob Debus MP
NSW Minister for the Environment

CLEANER SEAS AND LESS WASTE FOR LORD HOWE


An innovative way to treat biowaste and protect the environment is about to begin on Lord Howe Island.

The Treatment and Recycling Facility was opened today by Senator Alan Eggleston, representing Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill.

The Federal Government has provided $433,000 from the Clean Seas Program of the $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust for the facility which will reduce the amount of annual waste on the island from 200 tonnes to just 27 tonnes.

The State Government matched the funding by also contributing $433,000, as well as $159,000 for the implementation of a Waste Minimisation Strategy for the Island.

The facility, to be managed by Clean Up Australia, is located near Lagoon Beach.

Senator Hill said the facility will overcome the harmful environmental impacts of landfilling, such as poor air quality, vermin problems and groundwater damage by recycling the waste.

"At the heart of the facility is the Vertical Composting Unit (VCU) which provides in-vessel composting of organic wastes including food and kitchen waste, garden waste, septic tank sludge, grease trap wastes and paper and cardboard. The end product is compost suitable for landscaping, horticulture and erosion control," Senator Hill said.

"This is the second installation of a VCU in Australia and represents an exciting and innovative option for sustainably managing waste, with minimal impacts on the environment because of minimal energy and staffing requirements.

New South Wales Minister for the Environment, Bob Debus said the project is a great example of how partnerships between the community, industry and state and local governments can benefit the environment.

"Other waste operations on the Island will be upgraded to improve the effectiveness of the recovery and storage of recyclable materials and the shipment of these back to the mainland for secondary use as part of a Waste Minimisation Strategy," Mr Debus said.

Building on this, a Strategic Plan for Management of the Lord Howe Island Group World Heritage property was released. The plan will strengthen the protection and management of the property's World Heritage values in accordance with the World Heritage Convention.

"The Strategic Plan for Management will further protect the natural values of the Lord Howe Island Group for future generations by providing a consistent framework for the management and protection of World Heritage values," Senator Hill said.

"By involving the Island community in decision-making and management, the plan acknowledges the vital contribution that the local community makes in meeting Australia's World Heritage obligations and aims to meet the Commonwealth's own objectives for best practice management of World Heritage.

"I am pleased to see that some of the strategies outlined in the plan have already been initiated, such as the Biowaste Treatment Facility and the establishment of the Lord Howe Island Marine Park.

"The Strategic Plan, together with these initiatives, will provide a comprehensive framework for the protection of World Heritage values of the Lord Howe Island Group."

The Commonwealth provided $1.73m towards protection of the Island's unique natural values over the past four years, and has jointly funded with the NSW Government, the preparation of this plan.

June 30, 2000

Contacts:
Rod Bruem (Senator Hill's Office) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 1680
Chris Grima (Bob Debus' Office) 9995 6500 or 0418 400 198
David Pinch (Environment Australia) 6274 1459

Commonwealth of Australia