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Senator Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

Media Release

Australia Wins International Award for Environmental Impact Assessment

Embargoed until 10 am 23 June

Australia has been recognised as a leader in environmental protection with the presentation today (22 June) in Portugal of a major international award for work on environmental impact assessment (EIA).

The International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) meeting in Estoril has presented the federal Environment Protection Agency with its 1995-96 institutional award of excellence citing the Agency as having demonstrated leadership in, and commitment to, environmental assessment.

The Federal Environment Minister, Senator Robert Hill, said that the award confirms the international stature that Australia now has in environmental assessment.

"Recognition by leading peer professionals from across the world is a significant acknowledgment of our contribution to the development of EIA internationally," Senator Hill said.

"At the meeting the EPA is also releasing the EIA Training Resource Manual produced for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). The manual is an example of the merging of environment and economic priorities.

"The fact that the U.N. asked Australia to produce the manual is further recognition of our achievements in this area," Senator Hill said.

The aim of the manual is to enhance environmental assessment capacity, particularly in developing countries and countries in transition to market economies.

Commissioned in October 1993, the manual has been developed by the EPA with the assistance of international experts from UNEP, the International Study of the Effectiveness of EIA and the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Extensive field trials will be carried out over the next twelve months.

The 700-page manual is designed to assist trainers in preparing training programs relevant to the development priorities, political, social and economic climates that exist in their countries.

The meeting in Portugal will also see the announcement of a further four modules in the EPA's series Best Practice Environmental Management in Mining.

Produced in conjunction with Australia's mining industry and first launched at the IAIA's 1995 Durban conference, the mining modules have become "best sellers" with more than 5,000 distributed, including more than a thousand to international organisations.

The four new titles are expected to be available in July.

For further information contact:

Matt Brown for the Minister 06 277 7640

John Durham EPA a/h 06 294 4076

Commonwealth of Australia