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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
The Hon Peter McGauran MP
Federal Member for Hasluck
Mr Stuart Henry MP
8 November 2006
A two year waste management project—funded by the Australian Government’s Natural Heritage Trust—will improve Perth’s water quality, thanks to a $2.6 million pilot project launched today.
The project targets industrial by-products such as heavy metals, detergents, petroleum, oil and grease, which can enter drainage systems and cause serious problems for wetlands and river systems. It will be managed by the Swan Catchment Council which plans to develop an approach that could be used at a national scale.
Australian Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran, said the project will encourage best practice waste disposal within 6000 local small to medium enterprises.
“The pilot is very much based on the notion that the environment is everybody’s business,” Senator Campbell said.
“This is particularly true when it comes to water. Our towns, cities, businesses and households rely on it, and if we take it for granted this places unprecedented pressure on our water resources and quality.
“Small companies and organisations can play a vital role in protecting our water quality and the surrounding environment while maintaining their profitability - and in many cases they’re finding innovative ways to do just that.
“Through one project for example the Swan Catchment Council will work with business to develop a comprehensive set of best practice waste management guidelines to use when planning new industrial estates.
“Part of this work has involved combining risk assessment tools with education material, which has proven to be a successful way of encouraging good management of waste disposal.
“The community is having a say as well through initiatives like the Neighbourhood Improvement Plan, with Edith Cowan University conducting surveys in the Bellevue industrial estate.
“The surveys will determine the waste disposal issues and attitudes of business owners. In 2008 a second survey will be undertaken to measure changes in practices.
“This is going to continue to build positive working relationships between local government, the waste management industry and industrial enterprises ranging from vehicle servicing and repair shops to photographic processing laboratories.
“And perhaps best of all it’s going to ensure that the Swan and Canning rivers will be protected into the future.”
Speaking at the launch of the project in Perth today, Federal Member for Hasluck, Mr Stuart Henry MP, said the sub-projects were designed to develop over time.
“Over the next two years best practice will expand to include ‘Green Procurement Services’, which focus on improving the waste disposal methods of businesses providing a service rather than a product.
“As more manufacturers and service providers participate, a database will be introduced to record practices used, creating a waste management history and enabling better responses in the event of pollution and safety hazards.
“This kind of work reflects the long term view being taken in order to find effective solutions to the issue of waste disposal for businesses, improving water quality and the environment.
“I’d like to thank and congratulate the Local Governments, the Council as well as business owners and employees for all their hard work, and I look forward to seeing what’s to come.”
For more information about the project contact Tony Soteriou on (08) 9374 3333). For more information about natural resource management please visit www.nrm.gov.au.
Rob Broadfield (Senator Campbell’s office) 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902
Mary Clarke (Media) (Mr Stewart Henry MP) 0400 228817
Risk Assessment Tools: These have been developed to help streamline and increase efficient use of staff time. In combination with the development of appropriate education material this has proven to be an effective way of encouraging best management practices.
Neighbourhood Improvement Plan: Edith Cowan University has begun a two-year project working with all businesses within the Bellevue industrial precinct. Components include a baseline survey quantifying and qualifying waste issues and attitudes, and partnering with waste management businesses to work with small to medium enterprises on better waste management and disposal methods. All small to medium enterprises will be re-surveyed at the end of the project to measure changes in practice.
Planning for New Industrial Estates: The Council recently held a workshop with government and private stakeholders and commissioned a consultant to report on development of best practice guidelines for planning new industrial estates.
Green Procurement Service: Many small to medium enterprises provide services rather than a ‘product’. To encourage a move to best practice, the green procurement project has been funded to assist local government to develop and encourage the purchase of ‘green services’ with the inclusion of a ‘most favoured’ clause on contracts.
SME Database: There is a lack of data on small to medium enterprise business type and activities in the Swan region which creates difficulties in planning projects. To overcome this a feasibility study will be undertaken into the development of a small to medium enterprise database, which would be useful for many purposes such as back-tracking pollution events, fire and safety hazards and tracking trends in better management practice.