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

4 June 2000

THE PRIME MINISTER'S ENVIRONMENT AWARDS
CELEBRATE AUSTRALIAN ENVIRONMENTAL ACHIEVEMENTS


Winners of The Prime Minister's Environment Awards were announced today by the Prime Minister in a ceremony to mark official international World Environment Day Activities in Adelaide.

The winners as well as a number of highly commended entries selected from the 50 finalists (attached). There were more than 400 entries in nine categories, covering outstanding individuals, small and large businesses, local government authorities, community groups, schools, rural and regional communities, urban projects and greenhouse initiatives.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said the awards recognised the extraordinary national involvement in environmental action by Australians in all walks of life.

"The list of winners includes one of Australia's most published and respected scientists, progressive companies, a far-sighted local council, a precedent-setting Aboriginal community, an inspiring school and government-sponsored programs to harness 'people power' to help the environment," Senator Hill said.

"The importance of community involvement was a strong common theme among the awards entries.

"Ordinary Australians and communities are finding and embracing solutions to environmental problems that take into account social, economic and environmental considerations.

"The body of nominations represents a powerful endorsement of the commitment that Australians have to sustainability and is a fitting demonstration that Australia is in tune with the theme for the international World Environment Day celebrations of 2000 - The Environment Millennium - Time to Act".

Senator Hill said Australia was committed to addressing the great global environmental problems, including greenhouse gas pollution of the atmosphere, water crises, ozone depletion, species extinctions and the overuse of resources.

Also today, 14 new recipients of the highly prestigious Global 500 Roll of Honour for Environmental Achievement award, run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), were also announced. They include three Australian nominees.

These are the Andyamathanha Nepabunna Community, the first Aboriginal group to voluntarily declare part of their lands as an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA); Fuji Xerox Australia for its paper and other recycling initiatives; and the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers (ATCV), which runs a major portfolio of volunteer conservation projects and manages the Commonwealth-funded Green Corps conservation work training program for young Australians.


The Prime Minister's Environment Awards, 2000 - Winners, highly commended entries and other finalists

Category 1: Australia 2000 Environment Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement

Open to Australians who have made an extraordinary individual contribution to the nation's environmental well being and the pursuit of sustainability.

Winner:

Professor Ian Lowe, Professor of Science at Queensland's Griffith University and team leader for the Commonwealth's landmark 1996 State of the Environment Report, is known nationally and internationally as a champion of sustainability.

Highly commended:

Professor Peter Cullen, chief executive of the Canberra-based Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology, is an outstanding advocate for the environment, especially in the sustainable use and management of water resources.

Dr Dennis Saunders, assistant chief of CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology, has made highly significant contributions to biodiversity conservation over his 35-year career. He sits on the Commonwealth's Biodiversity Advisory Council and the Australian Heritage Commission.

Category 2: Australian Small Business Award for Environmental Best Practice

Open to all Australia-based businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million, to highlight excellence, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit in delivering tangible environment-related benefits.

Winner:

Charlie Carp, an innovative NSW firm that turns environmentally harmful introduced European Carp into garden fertiliser.

Highly commended:

Land and Water News, South Australia, runs a high quality information service for people working in natural resource management.

Goozeff Seeds, NSW, a national and international supplier of native Australian seeds.

Earth Sanctuaries Ltd, South Australia, private wildlife reserves and eco-tourism.

The Flat Bottle Co., Western Australia, an innovative recycler of waste glass bottles.

Vermitech Pty Ltd, NSW, uses large-scale worm farming to breakdown human and animal waste.

Category 3: Australian Business Award for Environmental Leadership

Open to all Australia-based businesses with an annual turnover of more than $2 million, to recognise an outstanding contribution to environment-related enterprise and/or implementation of sustainability principles.

Joint winners:

Banrock Station Wines, South Australia, mixes winemaking for national and international markets with wetland restoration.

Alex Fraser Group, Victoria, for construction material recycling initiatives and environmental stewardship.

Other finalists:

aXcessaustralia Projects Limited, hybrid fuel car builders.

Holden, world's first application of hybrid technology to a full-sized family car;

Bio Grow and Organic Soils and Bark, South Australia, uses bark, sawmill waste and other organic industry residues for the production of organic soils and fertilisers.

Western Mining Corporation, for public reporting of its environmental performance and mining industry leadership;

Category 4: Sustainable Communities Award for Local Government

Open to all local authorities in Australia to honour an inspiring example of progress towards environmental, social and economic sustainability by a city, municipal or shire council.

Winner:

Coffs Harbour City Council, NSW, for outstanding sustainability achievements in partnership with the local community, including a sewage effluent reuse program.

Highly commended:

Whyalla City Council, South Australia, breaking new ground in environmental initiatives as a regional city facing a number of social, economic and environmental challenges.

Sutherland Shire Council, NSW, for leading its local community by example in areas such as water and energy efficiency, waste reduction and stream management.

Wide Bay Water, Queensland, for water and wastewater management adjacent to World Heritage Fraser Island and Australia's premier whale-watching area.

Other finalists:

City of Onkaparinga, South Australia's largest local government, for a range of initiatives in the quest for sustainability.

Category 5: Community Leadership Award for Environmental Achievement

Open to non-profit community-based groups and organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to advancing environmental well being and/or an enhanced understanding of sustainability.

Winner:

Hopevale Aboriginal Community, Cape York, Queensland, for a precedent-setting management plan for dugong and turtle hunting by indigenous people. The plan was developed by indigenous people in cooperation with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).

Highly commended:

The Wilderness Society, Tasmania, for running commercial tours in the Styx Valley, where the world's tallest hardwood trees grow.

Shepparton Irrigation Region Implementation, Victoria, for its nationally recognised catchment management achievements.

Other finalists:

Wollondilly Phosphorus Action Campaign, NSW, raising community awareness and action on toxic blue-green algae issues in Sydney's water catchment.

The Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers (ATCV), for running thousands of practical, volunteer conservation projects around Australia, and managing the Commonwealth's Green Corps youth training program.

Landcare Vision, Western Australia, has 100 farming families working together with government and corporate support on conservation projects.

The Bookmark Biosphere Trust, South Australia, conserving 900,000 hectares of Mallee ecosystem and wetlands.

Olympic Landcare, involving Olympians, Sydney 2000 Games organisers and sponsors and the community in planting more than two million trees.

Category 6: Young Australia Award for Environmental Achievement in Schools

Open to all primary and secondary schools/education centres to recognise an outstanding project or program that promotes awareness of environmental issues and/or sustainable solutions

Winner:

Mount St Thomas Primary, Wollongong, NSW, for school-wide involvement of students in conservation activities over the past six years.

Highly commended:

Walungurru School, Kintore, Northern Territory, for addressing key community environmental and health problems through school projects.

Urrbrae Agricultural High, Adelaide, South Australia, for raising understanding of environmental issues and sustainable solutions among students and the community.

CALM Bushrangers, Western Australia, involves community volunteers across the State, including many students, in nature conservation projects.

Peppimintari School, Northern Territory, for making environmental education a core component for students in one of Australia's most remote communities.

Category 7: Natural Heritage Trust Award for Rural and Regional Leadership

Open to the recipients of Natural Heritage Trust-funding for an inspiring project or program that highlights rural/regional commitment to environmental restoration and promotes broad community awareness and/or participation.

Winner:

Marine Plant Ecology, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, for its Seagrass-Watch program involving local communities, scientists, governments and industry.

Highly commended:

Coorong Local District Action Plan Committee, South Australia, for action to address challenging natural resource conservation issues around the mouth of the Murray River.

Murray Irrigation Ltd, NSW/Victoria, for major initiatives to address environmental challenges including salinity over an area of 950,000 hectares, covering 2,600 farms.

Central Land Council, Land Planning Unit, Northern Territory, for a program that has national recognition as a leading example of land use planning by Aboriginal people.

Category 8: Living Cities Award for Urban Environmental Leadership

Open to government, private sector, NGO or community-based initiatives to address urban environmental challenges such as building design and construction, transport, air and water quality, bush regeneration and waste management.

Winner:

Bovis Lend Lease, NSW-based, for strong leadership in implementing sustainability principles in major construction projects - especially in regard to water and energy efficiency - including major solar power initiatives at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Highly commended:

Mike Mobbs' Sustainable House, Sydney, NSW, for an inner-city home that catches its own water, generates its own electricity and treats its own waste - setting an example for thousands through weekly tours and a best-selling book.

Perth Zoological Gardens, Western Australia, for projects to advance conservation including energy conservation, reproducing natural habitats and waste recycling.

Patawalonga and Torrens Catchment Water, Adelaide, South Australia, for programs aimed at community involvement in stopping water pollution at source.

Other finalists:

Lake Illawarra Authority, Wollongong, NSW, for more than a decade of work on restoration of the 35 sq km lake after 150 years of degradation.

Visy Recycling, Melbourne-based, for innovative recycling systems including helping the growth of kerbside collections.

Melbourne Water, Victoria, for its strong emphasis on stormwater and urban waterway management, with positive outcomes including the return to some streams of platypus and native fish species.

Sutherland Shire Council, Sydney, NSW, for its "lead by example" approach to the community in implementing sustainability objectives.

Category 9: Australian Greenhouse Office Award for Innovation and Excellence

Open to all Australian-based individuals, groups, government authorities/programs, councils, companies and industry associations. This award recognises outstanding achievements in addressing greenhouse gas emissions through renewable/alternative energy initiatives, carbon sequestration, pollution abatement, public education or other measures.

Winner:

Sustainable Energy Development Authority, NSW, for its Green Power Accreditation Program to facilitate the growth of the renewable energy industry through voluntary consumer purchase.

Highly commended:

Newcastle City Council, NSW, for implementing more than 200 strategies to reduce the impact on the environment from council activities, including substantial cuts in energy use.

Other finalists:

ACT Greenhouse Strategy, Canberra, the first Australian State or Territory to set a target for reducing greenhouse emissions.

Energy Developments Ltd, NSW-based, an Australian company engaged in the development and management of an international portfolio of energy projects.

BP Australia, Victoria-based, for leadership in areas such as delivering cleaner fuels, adopting greenhouse abatement measures and developing solar technology.

Commonwealth of Australia