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Senator the Hon. Robert Hill
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

Federal Budget 2000-2001

EMBARGO: 8.00pm May 9, 2000

COALITION BUILDS UPON ENVIRONMENTAL SUCCESSES


The Howard Government continues to provide record levels of funding for environmental and natural resource projects around Australia.

During its term in office, the Government has spent a record amount to protect and restore the Australian environment.

The $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust and the almost $1 billion allocated to greenhouse gas reduction programs are the largest environmental funding commitments in Australia's history.

This year alone the Government has allocated more than $880 million to the Environment and Heritage Portfolio, including funding to the Australian Greenhouse Office, the National Oceans Office, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Heritage Commission.

Federal Environment and Heritage Minister Senator Robert Hill said one of the reasons for the Coalition's environmental successes had been the emphasis on partnerships with community, industry, and State and Local governments.

"During the next 12 months the framework for managing Australia's environment from the Commonwealth level through to the community level will be strengthened," Senator Hill said.

"Continued community involvement in the management and enhancement of our natural environment is assured through the continuation of the $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

"We have allocated $361.3 million for Trust projects in 2000-2001. These projects will continue the work undertaken through Trust programs such as Bushcare, Landcare, Murray-Darling 2001 and Coasts and Clean Seas."

The Budget provides $6.5 million over four years to implement the Government's mandatory renewable energy targets.

This is the first full year in which there is funding for the entire suite of greenhouse programs.

Programs which will receive full year funding from now include: the Greenhouse Gas Abatement program; the programs Supporting Renewable Remote Power Generation and Supporting Photovoltaic Systems; the Compressed Natural Gas and Liquid Petroleum Gas Vehicle Conversion program; the Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme; and the program, Supporting Development and Commercialisation of Renewable Energy.

The largest of these is the Greenhouse Gas Abatement program, which has been allotted $400 million over the four years to 2003-04.

"Under the Government's mandatory renewable energy strategy, wholesale purchasers of electricity will be legally required to obtain 9,500 GWh a year from renewable sources by 2010.

"The $6.5 million will enable the establishment of an agency to oversee the implementation of a national renewable energy target about equivalent to the residential electricity consumption of a city of around four million people a year."

Demonstrating the Government's commitment to achieve the sustainable recycling and reuse of waste oil, this Budget provides for the development of a Product Stewardship System for Waste Oil.

"This innovative scheme will see waste oil allocated a value that will result in increased collection and recycling," Senator Hill said.

"The Product Stewardship System for Waste Oil arose from the A New Tax System - Measures for a Better Environment package and is expected to raise about $25 million in revenue each year.

"The additional revenue will be paid as incentives to eligible oil recyclers and reusers to support sustainable long-term management arrangements for waste oil in Australia."

The Budget also contains funding for the preservation of five prominent former Defence sites around Sydney Harbour.

The Government has allocated $6 million over two years to the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. The funding will ensure that, once legally established, the Trust will be able to rehabilitate the sites' natural and cultural heritage values and enable public access.

In addition, the Government has provided funds to implement the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, which comes into effect on July 16.

"This Act provides Commonwealth leadership on the environment, for the first time defining key areas of national responsibility and giving the Commonwealth appropriate powers to deal with them. It is one of the most significant environmental policy achievements since Federation."

The way that the GST affects Budget estimates, accounting statements and appropriations is described in Budget Paper No.4.

Contact: Rod Bruem (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364

Detailed statements follow on:
Renewable energy targets a step closer
$6 million for Sydney Harbour Federation Trust
Natural Heritage Trust funding $361m this year

As of 8pm, the Environment Budget Statement, Portfolio Budget Statement and budget media releases will be found on the internet at: http://www.environment.gov.au/library/pubs/budget/budget2000.html

Commonwealth of Australia