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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Australian Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
The Hon Mal Brough

10 August 2006

Funding boost powers remote communities

A renewable energy support programme which has provided sustainable power to 77 small remote Indigenous communities has received a funding boost of $11 million over two years from the Australian Government.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, and the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today announced the additional funding for the Bushlight programme.

“The Bushlight programme has given residents in participating communities access to reliable power, improving their quality of life in a very remote environment,” Mr Brough said.

“With reliable 24-hour power supplies, Indigenous communities are able to run fridges and freezers and keep meat, vegetables, dairy products and medicines fresh.

“The programme enables communities to use small power tools, wash clothes and re-establish schools, simple things that make a major impact on the health and welfare of community members.”

Senator Campbell said that until recently communities had no power, an inadequate power supply, or had been dependent on diesel generators for all power requirements.

“The Bushlight programme gives these communities a cleaner, cheaper and more reliable source of power,” Senator Campbell said.

“Replacing diesel with power from renewable energy from the sun not only saves the community the increasing cost of the fuel, it also provides a more reliable service and cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions.

“Through the programme we are demonstrating that renewable energy systems can be installed in remote locations and local community members can learn some of the skills needed to maintain them. These are lessons which can be applied in many parts of the world where reliable power supplies are not available.”

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Media contact:
Suzanne Ferguson (Minister Brough’s office) 02 6277 7560 or 0448 829 068
Rob Broadfield (Senator Campbell's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902

Commonwealth of Australia