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Media Release
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray

7 August 2001

Local councils taking the greenhouse challenge for a cleaner Murray

With the average Australian household putting 16 tonnes of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere each year, local councils in the Murray electorate are taking on the task of trying to reduce household greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Federal Member for Murray, Sharman Stone.

Opening the Local Leaders, Local Solutions Greenhouse Conference in Adelaide last week that included several local government representatives from the region, Sharman Stone said that councils were eligible for a grant of $4,000 to begin a local greenhouse 'audit'.

"The City of Greater Shepparton and Campaspe, Loddon and Gannawarra Shires are all involved in the Cities for Climate Protection Program, an internationally recognised greenhouse reduction program backed by a $13m Federal Government investment", Sharman Stone said.

"More councils have signed up to Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) in Australia than in any other country - 137 in total. They receive money from the Federal Government to meet 'milestones' within the program, like establishing a greenhouse gas inventory, setting an emissions reduction goal or developing an action plan".

Sharman Stone said that she discussed with City of Greater Shepparton staff at the Adelaide conference the targets that they were aiming for over the next 12 months. COGS have just recently reached Milestone 1.

"One of the main aims of the CCP program is to make greenhouse action self funding. For instance by using new low energy street and park lighting, electricity costs can fall by up to 80% - helping the bottom line of our councils and ratepayers, as well as contributing to the greenhouse reduction effort".

"Other practical tips include making sure that heating and cooling ducts are properly insulated, installing occupancy detecting lights that automatically switch off when someone leaves or simply encouraging staff to turn off machinery and equipment at the switch when not in use".

"Climate change is not just a scientific concept - it is effecting all of us. For instance, local orchardists have told me that in the last decade the sub zero temperatures that they require for setting of stone fruit over winter has been declining at an alarming rate", Sharman Stone said.

"This is a real concern for the future of our agricultural and horticultural industries and is one of the reasons why the Federal Government has allocated over $1 billion to greenhouse reduction programs", Sharman Stone said.

For further information contact:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468
August 7th 2001

Commonwealth of Australia