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Senator the Hon. Robert Hill
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Budget 1999-2000
Over $50 million has been allocated in the Federal Budget for the Coalition's promised Living Cities Programme to address urban environmental problems.
Environment and Heritage Minister Senator Robert Hill said the comprehensive policy will target air quality, water pollution, waste, and chemicals management.
"Through the Natural Heritage Trust, the Coalition has put unprecedented funding into tackling many of the environmental problems facing rural and coastal areas. The Living Cities Programme will aim for similar positive outcomes for our urban areas," Senator Hill said.
To reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, more than $2 million from Living Cities is dedicated to setting up resource recovery centres across Australia. The centres provide information and expertise to promote recycling and re-use of materials by business, and work to develop diverse and sustainable markets for recycled materials.
The community and the environment will be better protected from potentially hazardous air pollutants such as dioxins through the Living Cities' Air Toxics Programme. Around $5 million will go to monitoring, managing and establishing the levels of community exposure to air toxins.
Improved air quality and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions are just some of the benefits of the $3.8 million being spent on compressed natural gas (CNG) transport refuelling infrastructure. A network of publicly accessible CNG refuelling stations will be established in Sydney and Melbourne.
Around half the Living Cities funding goes toward improving urban waterways and reducing coastal pollution including $11 million to address the consequences of stormwater run-off.
The $12 million community monitoring programme, Waterwatch raises community awareness, identifies sources of water quality problems and facilitates community involvement in on-ground projects.
The health of urban rivers is the focus of a $2 million programme which includes monitoring and assessing the variety of life in rivers and the development of nationally consistent assessment standards.
Media contact: Rod Bruem 02 62777640 0411 128 582