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

Medium-Sized Companies Team Up to Reduce Greenhouse

24 June 1997
(DPIE 97/177P)

Medium-sized businesses are joining Australia's largest corporations in the Greenhouse Challenge program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Senator Parer, said the textiles, metals, hotels and hospitals sectors have agreed to take part in an expansion of the program.

The industry associations for these sectors have developed team- based strategies with the Greenhouse Challenge to jointly reduce their emissions.

This expansion allows medium-size companies that emit between 20,000 and 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, or use between 0.1 and 0.5 petajoules of energy, to come under the Challenge umbrella.

Greenhouse Challenge is a voluntary program between Government and business under which companies sign an agreement that commits them to meet their own specified reduction targets. Their performance is subject to independent verification.

Greenhouse Challenge is expecting to develop team-based strategies for medium-sized businesses in a further 10 sectors during the next two years.

"The team-based approach in specific sectors will give many more Australian businesses the opportunity to take part in the Greenhouse Challenge program," Senator Parer said.

"As a result of the strategies developed for the textiles, metals, hotels and hospital sectors, it is expected that 100 medium-sized companies will sign on to reduce greenhouse emissions by mid 1998."

The Minister for the Environment, Senator Hill, has today spoken about the Greenhouse Challenge program at a meeting in New York of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Agenda 21.

"The cooperative program with industry is an example of the important and innovative steps being taken by Australia to limit its greenhouse gas emissions," he said early today (Australian time).

The Minister for Industry, Science and Tourism, Mr Moore, said while individually the businesses did not contribute a large share of greenhouse emissions, collectively they were an important group.

"Together, medium-sized business account for around 10 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions in the mining and manufacturing sectors," he said.

"Getting them involved in Greenhouse Challenge will ensure the Government is covering the big end and medium end of business when it comes to cutting emissions."

Mr Moore pointed out that the sector strategies had adopted an innovative team-based approach to identifying ways to reduce emissions in different industry sectors.

"Key areas for actions are being identified by the Greenhouse Challenge Office in collaboration with industry groups and industry experts in each sector," he said.

"This means that the key areas to reduce emissions will vary from sector to sector - so that they are tailored specifically for those sectors."

To date, 128 enterprises have joined the Greenhouse Challenge program, and of these 42 have signed cooperative agreements with the Commonwealth, committing them to action plans to reduce emissions.

Further information:
Bob Baudino, Senator Parer's office, 06 277 7440
Cheryl Cartwright, Mr Moore's office, 06 277 7580
Julie Marks, Senator Hill's office, 06 277 7640
Cate McKenzie, Greenhouse Challenge Office, 06 271 6400

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