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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

19 August 2004

Environmental education gets a $1.8 million boost

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today announced an additional $1.8 million funding for applied research into environmental education in Australia through Macquarie University.

Senator Campbell said the funds, from the Australian Government's $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust, would meet the need identified in the Government's National Action Plan for Environmental Education for research into the effectiveness of different approaches to environmental education and for high quality resources.

"Under the arrangement, Macquarie University will undertake a range of projects aimed at better understanding of what is required to change organisations' and people's behaviour and develop appropriate resources to do so," he said.

"Macquarie University is an established leader in environmental education research in Australia. It will utilise its own expert resources, but will also employ the best available resources from other sources relevant to the particular projects being undertaken."

The research program is headed up by Associate Professor Daniella Tilbury, Graduate School of Environment, Macquarie University. Dr Tilbury is also the global chair in Education for Sustainability for the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication.

The $1.8 million follows on from initial funding to Macquarie University in 2003/04 of $500,000. Projects pursued to date include practical approaches to engaging business and industry in sustainability, the incorporation of sustainability into the courses of Australian business schools, international experience in whole school environmental education, and an overall review of the contribution of environmental education to sustainability in Australia. Future projects will build on this initial activity as well as exploring new ground.

Senator Campbell said educating Australians is a vital part of ensuring a sustainable future for Australia.

"Through participation in a wide range of activities and experiences, people learn new skills and knowledge and develop newfound respect for our natural environment," he said.

"Ultimately, such learning can lead to changed behaviour in support of the environment, through informed decisions about the way they live their lives.

"There is a flow-on effect - as individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations learn and adopt best-practice environmental behaviour, they pass on information and awareness to others - often motivating whole communities to make changes.

"The Australian Government's investment in various environmental policies and programs, such as the $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust, the $1.4 billion National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, and the $40 million Sustainable Cities program need to be supported by suitable education practices to ensure the benefits of these programs last into the future."

The approach being adopted is consistent with advice provided by the National Environmental Education Council, established by the Government as an expert body in this area.

Commonwealth of Australia