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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
&
Northern Territory Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr Chris Burns

31 January 2003

Northern Territory Emissions Data Helps Clear the Air


Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and Northern Territory Minster for the Environment and Heritage, the Hon Dr Chris Burns, today congratulated Northern Territory industry for its response to reporting emissions data to the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI).

"Northern Territory industries must be congratulated for their efforts in monitoring pollutant emissions and for being conscientious corporate citizens by giving their local communities a more complete picture of pollution emissions in their state," Dr Kemp said.

DrBurns said there has been a consistent response from facilities in the Northern Territory, indicating industry's continued commitment to the reporting to NPI.

"The number of industry sectors reporting has increased by over 60 percent and the average number of substances reported by each facility has also risen from the initial data launch in 1999," DrBurns said.

"While this reporting period marks the first time facilities are required to report on the full 90 substances, most NT facilities have shown their support for the NPI by previously reporting on the full range of substances."

The NPI - a cooperative program between Federal, State and Territory governments - is an Internet database that provides information on the type and amount of pollution emitted to the air, land and water across the country.

Facilities are required to report to the NPI if they have an NPI industry handbook and exceed NPI reporting thresholds which relate to use of particular NPI substances, the amount of fuel they burn or - for total nitrogen and total phosphorus - the emission levels.

Dr Kemp said in 2001-2002, a record 2,948 facilities nationally reported to the NPI, jumping from 2,374 the previous year. For the first time, facilities also reported on the full list of 90 substances, up from only 36 substances in previous years.

"Despite a significant increase in the number of facilities reporting to the NPI in 2001-2002, it has been encouraging to see there has been no change in the levels of benzene emitted into the atmosphere, compared to the previous year," Dr Kemp said.

"I am pleased to see that in 2001-2002, the oil and gas extraction sector decreased emissions of at least five NPI substances, including benzene, oxides of nitrogen, toluene, total nitrogen and total phosphorus.

"These results show some of our major industries are taking pollution more seriously and are embracing cleaner production techniques to minimise emissions and protect the environment for the good of the whole community."

Dr Kemp said the NPI database had become a very valuable tool for industry, government and the community, and was assisting industries Australia-wide to move towards more sustainable practices.

"Not only can the data help people to find out the major sources and levels of emissions in their local area, but it is helping industry to benchmark and improve environmental performance," Dr Kemp said.

"This year we've also improved the NPI website to ensure faster and easier access to information."

The NPI results follow findings from Australia State of the Environment 2001, which confirmed the quality of air in Australia's cities is improving.

For more information about the NPI, visit the web site www.npi.gov.au or the NT web site (www.lpe.nt.gov.au/enviro/poldoc/npi).

Media contact:

Catherine Job Dr Kemp's office (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Naomi Dwyer Environment Australia Public Affairs (02) 6274 1015
DrChris Mill Environment Australia, NPI Unit (02) 6274 1831
Northern Territory National Pollutant Inventory Officer (08) 8924 4123
Christine Atkinson DrBurns' office (08) 8901 4166 or 0401 116 224

Commonwealth of Australia