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

10 August 2001

AUSTRALIANS TO HAVE SAY ON WORLD SUMMIT


Australians are being invited to have their say on the best ways to pursue sustainable development as part of a World Summit that will develop a global action plan for the next decade.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill today called for community input into what measures Australia should propose at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).

The WSSD will be held in Johannesburg from 2-11 September next year. It will review progress achieved since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and focus on what needs to be done to advance sustainable development in the years ahead.

"All Australians have a role to play in ensuring we use our natural resources wisely, that our economic wealth is not achieved at the expense of future generations. I urge Australians to use this opportunity to consider what we can do in the international, national and local spheres to achieve this vital goal," Senator Hill said.

Senator Hill said Australia had a strong record in tackling the difficult task of implementing the principles of ecologically sustainable development. Australia was one of the first countries to produce a national sustainable development strategy in 1992.

Australia has since developed action plans on a range of issues including the National Greenhouse Strategy, the National Forest Policy Statement, the National Oceans Policy, the Natural Heritage Trust, and the National Action Plan on Salinity and Water Quality. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 requires all Commonwealth agencies to report on how their internal operations and actions accord with the principles of ecologically sustainable development.

Local government has also made significant advances in implementing Local Agenda 21, which was one of the outcomes of the Rio Summit, and next year Australia will host an international conference on Local Agenda 21 (in Adelaide) in the run up to the WSSD.

"The challenge facing Australia at the national level is how to build on our achievements to make further progress in the practical implementation of ecologically sustainable development and Agenda 21," Senator Hill said.

Environment Australia has released a public discussion paper and will conduct public forums in five capital cities in late August. Further information: Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772 or at: http://www.ea.gov.au/cooperation/international/index.html

Friday, August 10, 2001
Media Contact: Belinda Huppatz 02 62777640 or 0419 258364

Commonwealth of Australia