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Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
18 December 2001
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage Dr David Kemp has called on councils in regional and remote Australia to apply for Commonwealth funding to build tanks for waste oil.
"My Department is writing to councils this week, encouraging them to think about how they can assist farmers and regional businesses to recycle their waste oil," Dr Kemp said.
"Under the Government's new Local Government Waste Oil Facility Grants program, around $9 million is available to build waste oil collection facilities in country areas.
"Each year, 100 million litres of oil goes missing - much of it stored in small quantities in remote parts of Australia with little access to recycling facilities.
"This waste oil can do considerable environmental damage if it's not properly collected and recycled or reused.
"As little as one litre of oil can contaminate one million litres of water, and burning it can also release carcinogens that enter engine oils during use.
"While there is often fierce competition from recyclers to collect waste oil in many urban areas, this doesn't apply in most regional areas.
"These grants will enable rural councils with many demands on their limited resources to set up safe and accessible drop off points for waste oil at appropriate places, often at landfill sites."
The grants program is part of the Product Stewardship Arrangements for Waste Oil, which aim to lift Australia's oil recycling rate to world's best standards. Most grants will be in the region of $20,000, with councils able to seek larger grants to tackle particularly large areas or complex problems.
Guidelines and application procedures are being circulated to councils this month.
Grants to 16 councils totalling close to $380,000, have already been approved under the general transitional assistance funding element.
A future phase of the program will look at the needs of urban and outer-urban councils for oil collection infrastructure.
Megan Bonny (Dr Kemp's Office) (02) 6277 7640