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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
16 September 2003
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today congratulated Australian industry for working with government to reduce Australia's consumption of ozone depleting substances by over 70% since 1992.
Under the Montreal Protocol, Australia has significantly reduced and, in some cases, phased-out the use of ozone depleting substances which are used in refrigerators, aerosol cans, polyurethane foam and in fire protection.
"The Montreal Protocol is a great environmental success story. Recent research by NASA shows the overall rate of ozone depletion is slowing and it is expected that the Earth's ozone layer will have recovered by the middle of this century if commitment to the Protocol is maintained," Dr Kemp said.
"The Montreal Protocol is also an example of the merits of a truly global approach. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, it includes obligations for developed and developing countries alike. Without full compliance from the world community, ozone depletion would have reached at least 50% in the northern hemisphere's mid latitudes and 70% in the southern mid latitudes by the year 2050 - about 10 times worse than current levels. The resulting quadrupling in UV-B radiation in the southern mid latitudes would have put Australians are far greater risk of skin cancer and eye cataracts.
"Australia is also assisting other countries in our region. We are currently helping India establish their National Halon Banking facility and national halon management program.
"Australia is also helping eight Pacific Island countries to phase out chlorofluorocarbons by establishing national compliance centres, developing regulatory measures, training refrigeration technicians in emissions minimisation techniques, and customs officer training."
On the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, Dr Kemp said the benefits to the Australian community from this cooperative approach with industry are set to continue.
"The Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Legislation Amendment Bill will target avoidable emissions through nationally uniform controls on the purchase, sale, handling and disposal of ozone depleting substances and their synthetic greenhouse gas replacements," he said.
"Measures put in place by the Australian Government and the international community are having a positive impact on the health of the ozone layer. However, the hole that forms over Antarctica around this time every year, which changes in size depending on meteorological conditions as well as ozone depletion, serves as a reminder that the international community must maintain its commitment to ozone protection."