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

15 December 1999


Australians will enter the new century with unprecedented access to alternative road transport fuels and renewable energy as part of a series of environmental initiatives being introduced by the Howard Government.

Environment Minister Robert Hill said Federal Cabinet had this week considered and endorsed the design of the $900 million Measures for a Better Environment package announced by the Prime Minister in May this year.

Initiatives to be introduced in 2000 include;

"The $75 million Alternative Fuels Conversion Program offers significant financial incentives for Australia's commercial road transport and bus fleets to shift to the cleaner alternative, compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) fuels.

"From January 1, owners of conventionally fuelled vehicles (weighing 3.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) or more) may be eligible for grants of up to 50 per cent of the cost price of either converting the engine or upgrading to a new CNG or LPG vehicle.

"The Diesel Fuel and Alternative Fuel Grant Scheme will take effect following the introduction of the GST, ensuring those who convert to cleaner fuels are not disadvantaged when the price of diesel comes down in regional areas from July 1. Operators of commercial vehicles, who choose to use fuels such as CNG, LPG, recycled waste oil, ethanol and canola oil will be eligible for grants.

"From January 1, home owners will be eligible for rebates of up to $5,500 to install roof top building-integrated photovoltaic systems."

Senator Hill said the Government's commitment to fostering cleaner management of fuels was further demonstrated by the introduction of a new waste oil management program.

"Waste oil is a major environmental issue with at least 35 million litres of used oil unaccounted for in Australia each year. As it only takes one litre of oil to pollute one million litres of drinking water, we need to take action to reduce the amount of oil that ends up in the environment."

The Commonwealth will provide $60 million over four years for the establishment of a product stewardship system, requiring oil producers to be partly responsible for the proper recycling or other acceptable end uses of the lubricants they produce.

Media contacts: Rod Bruem (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
Carol Bartley (Australian Greenhouse Office) (02) 6274 1859 or 0412 994 800

Commonwealth of Australia