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Senator Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has given a commitment to APEC nations that protection of the environment is a high priority for the new Australian Government.
Senator Hill has used his opening address to the APEC ministerial Meeting on Sustainable Development in Manila to underline the commitment of the Howard Government to ensuring environmental protection is a key consideration in promoting economic growth.
Senator Hill has told the meeting the new Australian Government’s commitment to the environment on a domestic level will be mirrored in its actions on an international level.
“Through our involvement in APEC and other international forums we will promote the pursuit of economic growth through sustainable means.”
Senator Hill says Australia will play a key role in discussions on the three sustainable development themes being considered by the APEC meeting:
"As a highly urbanised developed nation we have a great deal of expertise to offer other nations in relation to sustainable cities. At the same time there is much we can learn from them.
"Our work on clean production techniques through projects such as the ‘Enviro-net’ has made us a leader in the region.
"Our $100 million commitment to a Coasts and Clean Seas Initiative coupled with our work in existing international forums places us well for discussions on the sustainability of the marine environment.”
Senator Hill says that the themes of sustainable development should be interwoven into APEC’s role of promoting economic growth through trade liberalisation.
"Australia believes that work on sustainable development complements the work already being done in the pursuit of economic and trade growth. We believe that work on sustainable development issues should be done within existing APEC structures.
"We view sustainable development as being an integral part of the APEC processes already underway. A separate working group on sustainable development could be viewed as a diminished 'add on' to the main focus of APEC."
For a copy of Senator Hill's opening address call 06 277 7640
For further comment contact Matt Brown on 0011 632 815 9711 (Room 818)