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Joint Media Release
Senator Warwick Parer, Federal Minister for Resources and Energy
Senator Robert Hill, Federal Minister for Environment
John Moore, MP, Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Tourism

Major Boost to Greenhouse Challenge Program


5 September 1996
(DPIE 96/58 PJ)

EMBARGOED UNTIL 10 AM

The Greenhouse Challenge gained a significant boost this week with another 13 of Australia's leading companies and two industry associations signing agreements in Sydney with three Federal Ministers.

"The Commonwealth Government congratulates the total of 17 companies and five industry associations which have now taken on the Greenhouse Challenge. The actions of the companies involved will reduce their aggregate greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 15 million tonnes or 15 per cent by the year 2000," the Ministers said.

"We applaud their environmental and business leadership."

Agreements from companies now cover over 250 major sites across Australia which contribute just under 50 per cent of Australia's emissions from the industrial sector.

"Between them, the agreements have identified over 420 actions to reduce greenhouse emissions," Minister for Resources and Energy, Senator Parer, said.

New firms signing agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions include Australian Paper, BP Australia, Huntsman Chemicals, Integral Energy, Johnson & Johnson Pacific, Kemcor, Kimberly-Clark Australia, SEQEB and Westpac; and two industry associations, the Australian Aluminium Council (representing Alcoa, Capral, Comalco and Tomago) and the Australian Chamber of Manufactures.

They join BHP, CRA, Shell, ICI, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, the Electricity Supply Association of Australia and the Pulp and Paper Manufacturers Federation of Australia, all of whom signed agreements in June.

"The success of the Greenhouse Challenge depends on a continuing level of contribution from industry that is both real and significant," Senator Parer said.

"That means, in turn, that we in government have more flexibility in developing our national greenhouse response."

The actions companies are taking in their agreements range from major scientific breakthroughs such as new low energy cells for use in the aluminium smelting process, to reducing waste going to landfill, increasing the amount of tree plantations to act as carbon dioxide sinks, renewable energy alternatives and switching fuel sources to less potent greenhouse gases.

"Australia has an excellent scientific base that underpins the application of new and cleaner process technologies," Minister for Industry, Science and Tourism, John Moore, said.

"This includes our emerging alternative and renewable energy technologies, where, in some cases, we lead the world."

In his speech on the national greenhouse response strategy, the Minister for Environment, Senator Robert Hill, praised the Greenhouse Challenge program.

"I am greatly encouraged by the growing tempo of this program and its increasing coverage of industry sectors," Senator Hill said.

"The Greenhouse Challenge is delivering an effective curbing of industry emissions through its objectives of maximum practicable reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by measuring, monitoring and regular review."

Nearly 80 companies and industry associations intend submitting cooperative agreements. Among them, the Hotel Inter-Continental, the venue for the Sydney signing ceremony.

Further inquiries:

Senator Parer's office, Bob Baudino, 0419 438 818
Senator Hill's office, Matt Brown, 0419 693 515
Mr Moore's office, Cheryl Cartwright, 0419 418 174
Greenhouse Challenge Office, Louise Vickery, 06 271 6633; (015) 483 052

Commonwealth of Australia