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


3 June 1999

The dry-cleaning industry is leading the charge of small businesses to improve air quality in Australian cities and towns.

Federal Environment and Heritage Minister, Robert Hill, today announced a national code of practice for the dry-cleaning industry to come into effect next year.

"The main chemical used in dry-cleaning, perchchloroethylene, or perc as it's commonly known, does not have a major impact on the environment when used correctly. However, incorrect storage, use and disposal of perc can be hazardous," Senator Hill said.

"Safety issues, preventative maintenance of machinery, improved operating procedures, accident management and staff training are just some of the measures outlined in the dry-cleaners code of practice."

Senator Hill said the environmental lead taken by Australia's dry cleaners would soon be followed by other small businesses, with the spray painting and printing industries already developing their own codes of practice.

"The codes of practice project arises from a recommendation to the independent Inquiry into Urban Air Pollution in Australia and falls under the Commonwealth's Air Pollution in Major Cities Program.

"It is supported with $300 000 funding from the Natural Heritage Trust which enables national implementation of the codes which are developed cooperatively with the state and territory governments," Senator Hill said.

Bruce Billson MP, Member for Dunkley, launched the dry-cleaning code of practice at the Melbourne College of Textiles. When released, the code of practice will be supported by a booklet, video, seminar series, 1800 number and web site.

For more information:
Senator Hill's Office: Rod Bruem (02) 6277 7640, 0411 128 582
Environment Australia: Eleanor Dean (02) 6274 1817

Commonwealth of Australia