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Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Acting Queensland Minister for Environment
Hon Rod Welford MP
31 January 2003
Queensland industry has maintained its outstanding reporting record this year with more major facilities reporting their emissions to the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) than any other state or territory.
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and Acting Queensland Environment Minister, Rod Welford, today announced the figures for 2001-2002, the NPI's fourth reporting year. Last year, 741 Queensland facilities reported their emissions, an increase of 18 per cent on the previous year, Dr Kemp said.
"Queensland industries must be congratulated for their efforts in monitoring pollutant emissions and for being better corporate citizens by giving their local communities a more complete picture of pollution emissions in their state," Dr Kemp said.
After Queensland, NSW recorded the next highest reporting rate of 627 facilities, followed by Victoria (617), Western Australia, (460), South Australia (261), Tasmania (128), Northern Territory (86) and the ACT (23).
Mr Welford congratulated Queensland companies for embracing public environmental reporting and demonstrating they are willing to take the first steps towards sustainability.
"Public environmental reporting is an important aspect of corporate social responsibility and provides a basis for industries to adopt more sustainable business practices. It also provides the public accountability that is vital in building trust between industry and the community," Mr Welford said.
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 being emitted to air, land and water across Australia.
Facilities are required to report to the NPI if they exceed NPI reporting thresholds that relate to use of particular NPI substances, the amount of fuel they burn or - for total nitrogen and total phosphorus - the emission levels.
With the number of reportable substances increasing from 36 to 90 this year, the volume of information available has increased substantially. Ammonia and ethanol are significant new substances with high levels of reporting from the agribusiness sector.
"Officers from the Environmental Protection Agency and Queensland Health will be conducting seminars throughout the state to assist Queenslanders to understand the NPI data," Mr Welford said.
Seminars will be held in Brisbane, Toowoomba, Emerald, Mount Isa, Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast between March 17 and 27.
Dr Kemp said in 2001-2002, a record 2948 facilities nationally reported to the NPI, jumping from 2374 the previous year.
"I am also 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," he said.
"These results are very encouraging because they 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 people can get faster and easier access to information so they can learn even more about emissions in their local area."
The NPI results follow findings from Australia State of The Environment 2001 Report, which confirmed the quality of air in Australia's cities is improving. The Commonwealth is playing a key role in the national effort on air quality through a range of projects including the NPI, which was the first National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM) agreed to by ministers.
For more information about the NPI, visit the web site www.npi.gov.au
For more information about other Commonwealth projects to improve air quality visit www.ea.gov.au/atmosphere/airquality
Information on the seminars is available online at www.epa.qld.gov.au/npi or by calling (07) 3225 1999.
Catherine Job Dr Kemp's office (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Naomi Dwyer Environment Australia Public Affairs (02) 6274 1015
Dr Chris Mill Environment Australia, NPI Unit (02) 6274 1831
Annastacia Palaszczuk Dean Wells' office (07) 3225 1819 or 0419 679 354