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

23 January 2001

AUSTRALIAN PORTS WIN CLEAN UP FUNDS


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill today announced $645,172 in funding for projects preventing tonnes of toxic waste from entering the country's ports, marinas and boat harbours.

"Boats, ships and yachts docking in a large Australian port can dump thousands of litres of poisonous anti-foulant paint into the water each year. Vessels can also be responsible for spewing tonnes of bilge water, sewage, garbage and other noxious wastes from vessel maintenance on to slipway rails then into coastal waters," Senator Hill said.

"Ship waste from ports is a far greater pollution threat than oil spills, it kills more of Australia's precious marine species."

Senator Hill said Natural Heritage Trust funding would support 14 projects around Australia - each involved installing marine waste disposal facilities designed to protect our marine environment from boat and ship pollution.

Ferguson's Boatshed Marina, off Sydney's Middle Harbour, has received $100,000 to upgrade its slipway facility. The project involves capturing wastes such as metals, paint, thinners, oils and cleaning agents, from vessels being cleaned. Up until now it has been impossible to ensure all waste was properly disposed.

"The Marina will allow more vessels to berth, giving more boats in the area access to environmentally safe facilities. The operator has also agreed to fund sewage pump-out and garbage disposal services," Senator Hill said.

"All of these projects, funded under the Marine Waste Reception Facilities Program, provide good examples of the best ways to dispose of marine waste. I hope this funding will lead to other Australian port operators taking note of the program's environmental benefits and getting involved with its aim to improve disposal facilities throughout the nation."

The funding comes from the Trust's $141 million Coasts and Clean Seas initiative to support the conservation, sustainable use and repair of Australia's coastal and marine environments.

Other projects to win funding include eight in New South Wales, four in Victoria, and one each in Queensland and Western Australia.

"In Victoria, the Gippsland Ports Committee of Management has received $32,080 to install a bilge water pump-out facility at Lakes Entrance, the State's largest fishing fleet harbour. The facility will be easily accessible to the many commercial and recreational vessels," Senator Hill said.

"In Queensland, the Pelican's Slipways received $10,275 to upgrade the slipways at Redlands Bay to capture all wastewater run-off. A pump-out system will be fitted for use in low and high tides, and will demonstrate the value of sand filtering.

"In Western Australia the Geraldton Port Authority has received $15,200 to improve its dry dock to prevent waste from escaping and polluting the port and nearby seagrass communities."

The list of funded projects is available for downloading as a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view it.

For further information on the Coasts and Clean Seas initiative contact Environment Australia's Community Information Unit on toll-free 1800 803 772 or visit the website at www.environment.gov.au/marine/coast_clean_seas/

23 January 2001

Media contact: Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's Office): (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia