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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Senator the Hon Penny Wong
Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water

$1.2 million to transform Sydney Theatre Company into a green precinct

Joint media release
12 July 2009

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Sydney Theatre Company (STC) on Walsh Bay, Sydney Harbour, will 'go green' thanks to a $1.2 million investment from the Rudd Government, Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong, and Environment Minister Peter Garrett announced today.

Joining STC Artistic Directors Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton on-site for the launch of the Greening the Wharf project, the Ministers said the project would transform the wharf into a sustainability hub employing solar power technology, water-smart design and the latest in energy efficiency.

"Sydney Theatre Company's Greening the Wharf project is a great example of innovative energy and water-saving technologies being put to use in the urban environment," Senator Wong said.

"The funding will help Sydney Theatre Company install an innovative rainwater harvesting, storage and reticulation system, which will meet 100 per cent of the Company's non-potable water needs.

"As we work to secure Australia's water supplies and tackle the effects of climate change, projects like this are increasingly important to show others how to reduce water and energy use."

Minister Garrett said Greening the Wharf project would install cutting-edge Pluto photovoltaic cells - high-efficiency, low-cost solar cells developed by the University of New South Wales and China's Suntech Power from the University's world-record-holding PERL silicon solar cell technology.

"The project will deliver substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and demonstrate that significant cuts in energy and water use can be made within a heritage building," Minister Garrett said.

"Here, at this iconic Sydney location where some of our best artistic performances take place, we now have Sydney Theatre Company ensuring that some of the best environmental performances will also be a hallmark of this building.

"By revolutionising the energy efficiency of this building, STC will reduce its carbon emissions by about 555 tonnes a year -the equivalent of taking more than 150 passenger cars off the road for one year."

Artistic Directors of Sydney Theatre Company, Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton today welcomed the funding for the Greening the Wharf project.

"This groundbreaking project, which will deliver the majority of the Company's energy and water requirements from sustainable sources, is believed to be a first for any theatre company in the world in its scale and the comprehensiveness of its approach to sustainability," they said.

Greening the Wharf is being funded from the Rudd Government's Green Precincts Fund, an initiative to prepare Australia for a future with less water and to encourage local communities to better manage their water and energy use.

Further Green Precincts Fund recipients will be announced over coming weeks.

Commonwealth of Australia