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

$1.5M MERCY MISSION FOR THE MERSEY AND BASS STRAIT


18 February 1999

The disposal and re-use of effluent and stormwater from Latrobe and Devonport in northern Tasmania will be completely revamped with funding from the Natural Heritage Trust.

Tasmanian Senator and Federal Minister for Family and Community Services Jocelyn Newman has announced funding for the new project of $1.5 million from the Trust's Coasts and Clean Seas initiative.

Senator Newman has made the announcement on behalf of Federal Environment and Heritage Minister Robert Hill.

In the cooperative spirit of the Trust, the project will be boosted by contributions of $1 million from the Latrobe Council and $564 300 from local farmers, bringing total support for the project to $3 million.

"Effluent and stormwater are among the major causes of marine pollution around Australia, and unfortunately Tasmania is no exception," Senator Newman said.

"The good news is that we can do something about it locally by putting waste water to good use instead of discharging it into the Mersey Estuary and Bass Strait.

"With Federal Government funding of $1 526 500, the Kentish-Latrobe Joint Authority will conduct this project, with the ultimate aim of improving local water quality in the long-term.

"The project's vision is to stop the discharge of effluent from Latrobe into the Mersey Estuary, to cease stormwater overflows from the Mersey River sewage collection system and introduce the reuse of effluent by local businesses, including farmers.

"This is a prime example of how innovation and resourcefulness can turn a waste product into an asset.

"The existing Latrobe Waste Water Treatment Plant will be upgraded using innovative filtration technology, rather than building a new high cost facility.

"A new pumping station and pipeline will be constructed for the transfer of effluent to re-use sites on farms and to the existing Pardoe outfall.

"Latrobe Council will assist local farmers to use treated waste water to irrigate their properties, thus reducing the volume of waste discharged into local waterways and the sea.

"Another aspect of the project will be increasing community awareness and involvement in the effluent reuse scheme through information materials and field days.

"I hope everyone in the Latrobe and Devonport areas will get behind this project and ensure it becomes an example for other parts of Tasmania to emulate," Senator Newman said.

The Natural Heritage Trust's $125 million Coasts and Clean Seas initiative is contributing to the conservation, sustainable use and repair of Australia's coastal and marine environments.

The project announced today is funded under the Clean Seas Program, which is part of Coasts and Clean Seas.

Applications for 1999-2000 funding from the Trust's marine component are open now. A guide to applications is available by calling Environment Australia's Community Information Unit toll free on 1800 803 772.

Contact:
Mark Polonsky (Senator Newman's office) 0411 407 215
Margaret Tailby (Environment Australia) 02 6274 1430
Grant Atkins (Latrobe Council) 03 6426 1041

18 February 1999

Commonwealth of Australia