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


12 August 1998

The Howard government will provide $3 million from the Natural Heritage Trust to reduce pollution from boats at Australia's ports, marinas and harbours and to increase our capacity to stop the damaging effects of oil spills.

Federal Environment Minister, Robert Hill, said that garbage, sewage and oil spills from recreational and commercial ships were a significant source of marine pollution.

"In many ports and marinas a lack of adequate facilities can mean that responsible boat owners simply aren't able to dispose of their waste properly.

"This package will assist port, harbour and marina owners and managers improve waste reception facilities.

Senator Hill said that the Commonwealth has allocated $2 million from the Coasts and Clean Seas component of the National Heritage Trust towards:

"Through the demonstration projects we expect to install state of the art waste receptions facilities at 21 sites which will be selected to cover the full range of ports and marinas.

"Funding will be on a matching basis with the aim of generating a total commitment of $4 million towards these projects.

"The government has also provided a significant boost to Australia's capacity to deal with oil spills through the allocation of an additional $1 million to fast track the production of a national Oil Spill Response Atlas.

The Atlas, which is being developed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, will be an invaluable aid to response teams by setting out which species and ecosystems should be protected first in particular areas, the location of jetties and boat ramps and what equipment is available where.

"As an island nation, Australia relies heavily on international and coastal shipping, resulting in an ever present-threat of accidental damage to the marine and coastal environment by oil or chemical spills.

"Such spills can have widespread impact on, and long term consequences for wildlife, fisheries, coastal and marine habitats and human health as well as important recreational resources.

"It is vital that we have in place a national system which allows a quick and effective response to such incidents, to help authorities set priorities for protecting vulnerable species and ecosystems.

"The atlas will be a means for authorities to decide which response options should be used, such as boom deployment, the use of dispersants, foreshore clean-up techniques and disposal sites for wastes.

12 August 1998

For further information:
Matt Brown (Senator Hill's office) 02 6277 760
Jim Cannon (Environment Australia - port facilities) 02 6274 1076
Mark Flanigan (Environment Australia - oil spill atlas) 02 6274 2208

Commonwealth of Australia