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

10 May 2005

$3.2 billion for Australia's environment

The Australian Government continues its record levels of environment spending in 2005-06, with $3.2 billion for the environment and heritage.

"This year's Budget sees an increase in total environmental investment of more than $460 million since 2004-05, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, announced today.

"For example, the Government will deliver an extra $200 million over five years in community water grants, with $48.2 million allocated in 2005-06.

"This comes on top of other grants like the Envirofund, which is an important community component of the Government's cornerstone Natural Heritage Trust and National Action Plan on Salinity and Water Quality programmes.

"Spending in my portfolio will be $923.7 million in 2005-06, an increase of approximately $50.6 million on 2004-05."

Major environment portfolio initiatives in this year's Budget include:

"These new initiatives fulfill the Government's 2004 election commitments and focus on measures that benefit the community as a whole," Senator Campbell said.

Senator Campbell said the Australian Government was also continuing its focus on reducing waste, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and delivering practical water conservation solutions. The new budget measures in the environment portfolio include:

"A whole-of-government approach to sustainability is essential and, with the commitment of $3.2 billion, the Australian Government has continued its record levels of spending on the environment.

"This record spending is part of the Australian Government's approach to delivering effective solutions for the environmental issues facing our communities," Senator Campbell said.

Overall Government spending on environment since 2001-02

Overall Government spending on environment since 200102

Environmental initiatives across other Australian Government agencies include:

"The 2005-06 Budget also implements a five-yearly registration fee for products rated under the Water Efficiency Labelling Standards (WELS) scheme.

"This scheme is expected to save the community more than $600 million in water and energy bills by 2021.

"The first of its kind in the world, the scheme requires a range of water-using appliances or products to carry an efficiency rating label that provides consumers with important information about how much water the product uses and how efficiently it uses it."

Senator Campbell said the new budget measures built on the Australian Government's $1.8 billion commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the 2004 climate change strategy.

"The measures reflect the Government's aim to seek solutions for climate change at the large-scale technology end, as well as supporting real emission reduction action in the business and community sectors," he said.

"Water is another clear priority for the Government, and the $2 billion Australian Water Fund provides resources for three new programmes: Water Smart Australia, Raising National Water Standards, and Australian Water Wise Communities.

"These measures work in conjunction with the Government's flagship natural resource management programmes, the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality to improve the management of Australia's natural resources.

"As well, the Australian Government remains strongly committed to helping environment-based community groups continue their work and is rolling out a number of grant programmes.

"Envirofund is the community component of the Australian Government's $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust-the largest environmental rescue effort ever undertaken by an Australian Government.

"Envirofund empowers local communities to develop solutions to local environmental challenges. Local groups have the local knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm to deliver on-ground results.

"Smart investment in environmental research, new technologies and community programmes means an investment in the future of all Australians."

Media Contact:
Senator Campbell's office: Renae Stoikos (02) 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia