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

11 May 2000


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill is leading an Australian business delegation to China in a major push to export Australia's environmental expertise. It is the first time an Australian environment minister has been to China heading a business mission.

Senator Hill said the trip follows an invitation by the Chinese Government, which recognises Australia as a world-leader in environmental industry and technology.

'There is great scope for Australia to be involved in delivering better environmental outcomes in China with the bonus for us of increased trade,' Senator Hill said.

On his visit to Australia last year, Chinese President Jiang Zemin identified environmental protection as an area in which Australia and China could work together. Hong Kong's Chief Secretary for Administration, Dr Anson Chan, has also stressed the range of economic opportunities for Australian industry to assist with the Special Administrative Region's environmental challenges.

The visit will include meetings with senior Chinese and Hong Kong government and business leaders. In Beijing, Senator Hill's delegation will meet with China's Minister for Environment Xie Zhenhua and the Mayor of Beijing Mr Liu Qi. They will discuss ways to improve China's air and water quality, Land care, rehabilitation of mines, waste management, renewable resources, protection of heritage sites, species protection and the sharing of internet-based environment resources. Senator Hill and Mr Xie will sign an environment action plan to expand Australia-China cooperation on priority environment issues and to develop and implement activities to address the challenges associated with sustainable development and environment protection.

The Australian business delegation comprising 24 representatives will hold a roundtable discussion with Chinese and overseas environmental experts on China's environment policies, funding mechanisms and opportunities for Australian business to assist China in its efforts in finding sustainable solutions to the country's environment challenges.

'The global market for environmental business is estimated to be worth US$500 billion annually and is growing at 3 percent each year. The size of the Asian market is $24 billion, excluding Japan,' Senator Hill said.

'China has set aside a sizeable proportion of its budget for environmental protection projects. The recently introduced China Trans-Century Green Project (the Green Plan) involves over 1400 projects with a budget of A$34.5 billion.

'Consistent with the Howard Government's own environment policy we are pleased to assist China to achieve long-term sustainable management of its natural resource base.'

11 May, 2000
Media Contact: Rod Bruem (Senator Hill's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia