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Senator Warwick Parer, Minister for Resources and Energy
Senator Robert Hill, Minister for the Environment
Mr Peter McGauran, Minister for Sciences and Technology
1 May 1997
Eleven major companies signed agreements with the Federal Government today, committing them to specific measures to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2000 and beyond.
The companies, together with the existing signatories to the Greenhouse Challenge program, account for more than 45 per cent of Australia's greenhouse emissions in the mining, manufacturing and services sectors.
The Minister for Resources and Energy, Senator Parer, said the companies' combined actions would reduce Australia's emissions of carbon dioxide by a total of 16 million tonnes by the year 2000.
"That is the same as the emissions generated by the electricity used in 2.3 million homes every year," Senator Parer said at the signing ceremony in Brisbane.
"Or it's the equivalent of 8,500 jumbo jets flying from Sydney to London return. These are significant savings."
Senator Parer and his colleagues Senator Robert Hill, the Minister for the Environment, and Mr Peter McGauran, the Minister for Science and Technology, signed the agreements with the chief executive or managing director of each company.
Queensland also became the first State Government to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commonwealth, pledging the State's full support in encouraging companies to join the Greenhouse Challenge.
Senator Hill congratulated Queensland for its commitment, saying that partnership was an important part of the global effort to reduce greenhouse gases. "We can already see evidence that the partnership is working," he said.
"Queensland's major electricity generator AUSTA Electric is signing with their Minister today; and Queensland Rail has also given a formal commitment to develop and sign a cooperative agreement this year. "
Australian Newsprint Mills, based in Tasmania, and South Australian Brewing, based in Adelaide, today became the first companies from their respective States to sign on to Greenhouse Challenge. A further six industry associations signed facilitative agreements with the Government, to assist their member companies reduce emissions.
Senator Parer said: "This is an impressive result overall. We now have 31 major companies -- covering every State -- now committed to reducing emissions under Greenhouse Challenge".
Under the Challenge program, companies sign cooperative agreements, committing them to take specific actions to reduce their emissions. The agreements include regular reporting and updating of the companies' actions.
Mr McGauran said that the companies signing agreements had seized upon the importance of scientific research and technological advancement as the pathway to competitiveness and efficiency.
"Not only are we seeing leading edge research and development by some of these companies, we are also witnessing innovative management approaches," he said.
"For instance, the Cement Industry Federation developed its own industry- - specific management model to help members minimise emissions. The system outlines more than 100 potential actions that cement companies can take to improve their energy efficiency."
Senator Parer today also launched a pilot program to place up to 10 unemployed university graduates in enterprises that are intending to join the Greenhouse Challenge.
The organisations will generally employ a graduate for between four and 12 months, during which time the Greenhouse Challenge Office and industry experts will provide them with training on preparing cooperative agreements.
Participating companies include the Bodyshop, Ampol, Bonlac and Powercoal. The Newcastle City Council also plans to place a student, as it seeks to become the first local government to sign on to the Challenge.
Bob Baudino, Senator Parer's office, 0419 438 818
Matt Brown, Senator Hill's office, 0419 693 515
Carmel Christensen, Mr McGauran's office, 0419 996 766
Cate McKenzie, Greenhouse Challenge Office, 06 271 6400
Greenhouse Challenge Program -- Signatories
Brisbane, 1 May 1997
ARCO Coal Australia
Australian Aluminium Council:
Alcoa AustraliaAustralian Newsprint Mills**
Australian Healthcare Association
Australian Institute of Petroleum
Cement Industry Federation
Minerals Council of Australia
Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association
Road Transport Forum
* AUSTA Electric signed its agreement with the Federal Government in Canberra in March, and with the Queensland Minister for Environment on 1 May.
** First company from the respective State to sign an agreement.