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

Environmental Assessments Impact on Internet


28 August 1996

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says that an increasing number of people are using the internet to have their say on Australia's environmental impact assessment process.

Senator Hill says the grater public participation in the EIA process has helped produce a five-fold increase in demand over the last six months on the Environment Protection Agency's EIA Network.

"The EIA Network was set up specifically to open up channels of communication and raise both the quality and awareness of the EIA process.

"The success of the Network has been confirmed. While on average 60 per cent of 'hits' come from Australia, we are also attracting extensive interest overseas.

"The number of hits has risen significantly since the draft guidelines for the environmental impact statement on the proposed second major airport for Sydney at Badgerys Creek or Holsworthy were published early this year on the Network.

With the announced extension for public comment on the draft EIS guidelines for the proposed airport, the Government is encouraging those interested in submitting comments to use electronic mail. Senator Hill says the EIS consultation process can be handled efficiently using Internet technology.

"Since the EPA placed background information and the draft EIS guidelines on the Network, statistical data shows that an increasing number of people are accessing the information electronically. We are also receiving submissions on the draft EIS guidelines by electronic mail.

"By reducing the time of two-way postage, the electronic transfer of data makes the process quicker and more accurate, allowing each submission to be rapidly recorded, acknowledged and indexed.

"My department is investigating further development of the Network which will make both the dissemination of information and the collection of opinion even more efficient."

As well as the airport draft EIS guidelines, the Network contains notifications of other Commonwealth projects, EIA contacts, relevant legislation and agreements, information on international activities such as the UNEP EIA Training Resource Manual and the International Study of the Effectiveness of EA (including case studies), and links to other EIA sites around the world.

Internet Addresses:

Australian EIA Network Home Page
http://www.erin.gov.au/net/eianet.html

Sydney Second Airport draft EIS guidelines:
http://www.erin.gov.au/portfolio/epg/eianet/notifications.html

e-mail address for submissions:
EIANetwork@environment.gov.au

or use the return reply option at the bottom of all EPA internet pages.

For further information contact:

Senator Hill's office: Matt Brown (06) 277 7640

EIA Network Manager : Fiona Jinman (06) 274 1629

Commonwealth of Australia