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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
&
The Hon Paula Wriedt MHA
Tasmanian Government Minister for the Environment

24 July 2006

An action plan for Derwent heavy metals


Tasmanians will have an opportunity to comment on ways to reduce pollution in the Derwent Estuary with today’s release of a draft Water Quality Improvement Plan by the Australian and State Governments.

The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and the Tasmanian Minister for the Environment, Paula Wriedt, today called for comment on the action plan that details sources and ways to reduce heavy metal pollution in the Derwent Estuary.

“The Derwent Estuary is impacted by high levels of heavy metals – largely the result of historical industrial discharges over the past 90 years,” Senator Campbell said.

“While considerable progress has been made by industry to reduce loads over the past 20 years, a scientific basis was needed to guide future management actions,” he said.

“Other sources of pollution include urban run-off, atmospheric emissions, treated industrial and municipal wastewater and tips/landfills,” Ms Wriedt said.

The Australian Government has contributed $272,000 from the Natural Heritage Trust funded Coastal Catchments Initiative to prepare the plan along with $100,000 from the Tasmanian Government, and $180,000 from local partners including industries, local government and scientific organisations.

Prepared by the Derwent Estuary Programme, the action plan outlines key ways to reduce heavy metal inputs and to manage contaminated sediments and seafood, including:

“This plan builds on the work of government, industry and community partners who have been working to restore the Derwent, including the Zinifex Hobart Smelter who will today commit to a $2 million groundwater and stormwater projects to support the plan,” Ms Wriedt said.

“Restoring the health of the Derwent is a priority for the Australian Government, and I call on Tasmanians to have their say on the best ways to do this,” Senator Campbell said.

The Derwent Estuary WQIP and details on how to make a submission on the plan are available at www.derwentestuary.org.au

Comments are due by 1 September 2006.

Media contacts:
Rob Broadfield (Senator Campbell’s office) 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902
Sue Bailey (Minister Wriedt’s office) 03 6233 2305

Commonwealth of Australia