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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon. Dr David Kemp
&
Australian Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources
The Hon Ian Macfarlane, MP

13 November 2003

Australian Engineering Excellence Wins Awards


Australian Government Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and Industry, Tourism and Resources, Ian Macfarlane, today commended three companies on winning awards for their achievements in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Water Corporation of Western Australia (Gold), the Australian National University (Silver) and the Swan Brewery (Bronze) won the Greenhouse Challenge Awards for demonstrating excellence and innovation in greenhouse gas abatement. The Greenhouse Challenge Awards comprise part of the annual Australian Engineering Excellence Awards that identify, recognise, reward and promote Australian engineering excellence.

Dr Kemp said the Greenhouse Challenge Awards, which have been awarded annually since 1999, provide an opportunity to publicly recognise outstanding and voluntary industry achievements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many of the applicants had also taken a mentoring role to promote and assist other Australian industry to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

"These three companies have not only set new best practice benchmarks for greenhouse gas efficiency in production - for example, Water Corporation of WA reported a 25% reduction in its gross emissions - they have encouraged additional industry abatement through their regional or business networks," Dr Kemp said.

"Over 800 companies, covering around half of Australia's emissions in key areas across the Australian economy, are now improving their greenhouse gas management. Since Greenhouse Challenge began in 1995, these companies have reported a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of more than 20 million tonnes (of carbon dioxide equivalent) from activities undertaken in the program," he said.

Mr Macfarlane said he was particularly impressed with the level of engineering innovation and ingenuity shown by the successful companies.

"Australian industries have taken a leadership role in their bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and have found that cleaner production can provide a strong competitive edge. All of these organisations have also benefited their bottom line, while reducing greenhouse gases through enhanced efficiency."

"Both the Australian National University and Swan Brewery projects combined technological advances with practical application. While the Water Corporation of Western Australia's biogas project shows how a waste problem can become a clever business opportunity," he said.

It involved the installation of two new digesters at a major wastewater treatment plant and the production of biogas from the anaerobic treatment of sewage sludge. This process accounted for 28% of the abatement the company reported in 2002-2003.

Dr Kemp said industry had played a strong role in limiting Australia's greenhouse gas emissions and that Australia is now within striking distance of the 108 percent target agreed to at Kyoto.

Greenhouse Challenge is a joint voluntary initiative between the Howard Government and industry to encourage abatement and to improve greenhouse gas management, measurement and monitoring of emissions.


Backgrounder - Greenhouse Challenge Awards

GOLD AWARD: Water Corporation of Western Australia

The Water Corporation of WA - which provides water, wastewater, drainage, irrigation and other water related services to Western Australia - has the largest operating area (2.5 million square miles) of any water utility in the world, supplies water to over 300 towns, and operates more than 96 wastewater treatment plants.

Having joined the Challenge Program in 2002-2003, the Water Corporation reported greenhouse gas abatement of 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) which represented over 25% of its gross emissions for that year.

They achieved this reduction through innovations including:

SILVER AWARD: The Australian National University

During 2002 the Australian National University (ANU) reported greenhouse gas abatement of over 8000tCO2-e or around 12 per cent its gross annual emissions, despite an increase in student numbers of almost 1,000. Innovations include:

BRONZE AWARD: The Swan Brewery Company Pty Ltd

Since joining Greenhouse Challenge in 1998, Swan Brewery has reduced its annual emissions by around 8,900tCO2-e, which is equivalent to around 21 per cent of its emissions. It has actively targeted areas for efficiency improvements including reduction in energy use, steam, refrigeration and compressed air use and has encouraged waste minimisation. Its innovative wastewater treatment project, involving the installation of variable speed drives on the aerators in the treatment ponds, has significantly increased plant efficiency and reduced water consumption through recycling initiatives including:

Other finalists of the 2003 Greenhouse Challenge Awards:

For more information about Greenhouse Challenge visit: http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/challenge

Commonwealth of Australia