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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment
24 January 1997
One of Australia's largest pulp and paper mills, the Australian Newsprint Mills in Albury, has begun using treated waste products to irrigate and condition soil in the mill's plantation forests.
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says the initiative has significant environmental benefits and shows how industry can contribute to restoring water resources in the Murray Darling Basin.
Senator Hill was speaking today in Albury where he inspected the new recycling system with the Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer.
"With the establishment of the Natural Heritage Trust, the Howard Government will fund the National Rivercare Initiative with the primary objective of conserving and restoring Australia's rivers.
"The program will be complemented by the $300 million Murray Darling 2001 project, for which the Trust will provide $150 million over the next five years towards the rehabilitation of the Murray Darling Basin.
"One of the project's main aims is to establish the sustainable disposal and re-use of treated urban effluent and stormwater in the Murray Darling Basin.
"The effluent irrigation system developed by Australian Newsprint Mills clearly complements this objective because waste water from the mill, even though it is treated to drinking water standard, will no longer be released into the River Murray.
"The treated water and other effluent is instead being viewed as a resource and will be used productively to irrigate a forest plantation.
"The project demonstrates how industry can produce high standard goods and at the same time minimise the impact of its operations, by contributing to expanding the forest base, providing sinks for greenhouse gases and reducing the pressure on the environment to absorb waste".
Senator Hill says the mill's recycling system has been developed with the support of the NSW Environment Protection Agency and local farmers, highlighting the potential for partnerships between governments, industry and others in the community.
Contact: Matt Brown (Senator Hill) 0419 693 515 or 06 277 7640
Malcolm Forbes (Environment Australia) 06 250 0325 or 06 250 0766