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


4 March 1998

The Howard Government has stepped up Australia's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the appointment of the head of the new Australian Greenhouse Office.

Environment Minister Robert Hill has announced that Ms Gwen Andrews will take on the AGO leadership role.

Senator Hill says the appointment is further proof of the Howard Government's commitment to deliver on its Kyoto commitments.

"While our government was able to achieve a fair outcome for Australia at Kyoto, no-one should be under the illusion that our target is soft or easily achievable.

"Australia's target is a challenging one and we are committed to early effective action to ensure we meet it.

"The Australian Greenhouse Office will drive the $180 million worth of initiatives announced by the Prime Minister late last year.

"It will be an agent for change to ensure Australia plays its role in the global challenge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Senator Hill says Ms Andrews brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the position of head of the AGO.

"Ms Andrews is the third woman to be appointed by the Howard Government to a key role in this global environmental challenge.

"Ms Anthea Tinney was appointed as head of the Environment Protection Group which has previously dealt with greenhouse issues within the Environment portfolio.

"Our government also appointed Ms Meg McDonald as Ambassador for the Environment. Ms McDonald played a crucial role in achieving the Kyoto outcome.

"Ms Andrews will now build on their efforts with the development of the AGO.

"She will bring both leadership and the capacity to provide strategic policy guidance to a most important and dynamic agenda.

"She will also bring invaluable central coordinating department experience to both the Office's policy advising role and to the coordination of the Commonwealth's greenhouse programmes and with the States and Territories."

A former senior officer in the Canadian public service and currently with the Department of Finance and Administration, Ms Andrews has also worked with the Spectrum Management Agency and the Department of Communications and the Arts.

Her current position is General Manager, Budget with DoFA, where she has been responsible for policy advice on all Government outlays in the budget context.

Her recent background also includes providing advice on the development of broadcasting and media ownership policy, and directing the market based allocation of radio frequency licences.

The Australian Greenhouse Office will be the key Commonwealth agency on greenhouse matters, and will be responsible for both the coordination of domestic climate change policy and for managing the delivery of major new and existing Commonwealth greenhouse programmes.

It will be the central point of contact for State and Territory governments, industry and other stakeholders on domestic climate change matters.

The Office will manage existing and new projects in the areas of greenhouse partnerships, energy efficiency, renewable energy, information, inventory and market mechanisms and the National Greenhouse Strategy.

Those projects include the highly successful Greenhouse Challenge Program, the $13 million Cities for Climate Protection project, the development of an environment strategy for the automotive industry and the development of an renewable energy innovation investment fund.

The Office will also manage the establishment of a national carbon accounting system and the $5.5 million Bush for Greenhouse project.

The Office will manage for the Commonwealth the development and implementation of the comprehensive National Greenhouse Strategy currently being developed with States, Territories and other stakeholders.

Media contact - Matt Brown (Senator Hill) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515
Jim Cannon (Environment Australia) 02 62741076

March 4, 1998

Commonwealth of Australia