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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

13 May 2003

$40 Million Boost for Australia's Urban Environment

New projects to conserve and improve urban water are part of a $40 million package over five years to make Australian cities and towns cleaner and more sustainable.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said urban air quality, ozone protection and waste management will also benefit as part of a new urban environment initiative - "Sustainable Cities" announced in the 2003-2004 Federal Budget and developed in collaboration with the Australian Democrats. The majority of funding will be provided through the Measures for a Better Environment Programme.

"Eighty-seven per cent of Australians - more than 17 million people - live in our cities, posing ongoing challenges for those working to achieve the right balance between urban development and environmental protection," Dr Kemp said.

"The Howard Government is strongly committed to meeting these challenges and through the Sustainable Cities programme is introducing a range of innovative measures to build on progress already made with air and fuel quality."

Dr Kemp said $24.2 million will be spent on a package to improve our understanding of environmental pollutants, and to develop standards that minimise the impact of buildings and some household appliances.

The package includes a national water efficiency labelling scheme and minimum performance standards for appliances and household fittings to reduce urban water consumption.

"These measures will make it easier for householders to choose more efficient water appliances such as toilets, showerheads and dishwashers, so we can all make a greater contribution to protecting our scarce and precious water resources," Dr Kemp said.

"And with 2004 the Year of the Built Environment, a new green buildings programme that includes the National Australian Buildings Environmental Ratings Scheme (NABERS) will ensure that future building projects are more environmentally-friendly."

Other key features of the Sustainable Cities initiative are:

"The Government will also work with local governments and schools to raise environmental awareness and improve resource use through environmental management systems," Dr Kemp said. "Together these measures will work to improve the sustainability of our cities and towns and improve the quality of life for all urban Australians."

Media Contact:
Catherine Job Dr Kemp's office (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia