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

13 October 2000


A long-term project conducting trials of new and promising anti-fouling paints used on ships was given the go-ahead today by the Federal Environment Minister Senator Robert Hill.

The project is a cooperative effort between the maritime, paint and coatings industries, the Royal Australia Navy/ Defence Science and Technology Organisation and Environment Australia.

"This project will test the efficacy of newly developed tin free anti-fouling systems and will enable industry to be well placed to use alternatives to harmful tin-based antifoulants when an international ban comes into effect," Senator Hill said.

The ban is in response to growing concern domestically and internationally over the effects of harmful organotins used as anti-foulants on ship's hulls.

Under Australia's Oceans Policy the Commonwealth Government will ban the application of tributyltin (TBT) to vessels being repainted in Australian docks from 1 January 2006. With this project, the Commonwealth Government is focussing on identifying the best newly available alternative anti-fouling systems.

The project will provide a critical capital injection for paint trials on vessels under a range of climatic conditions in Australian waters. It will support the work marine paint and coatings manufacturers are doing to ensure that cost effective and environmentally friendly alternatives are available in time for the ban.

Senator Hill said that the co-operative approach adopted between industry and the Government in this project illustrates the importance we place on reducing hazardous chemical entering the environment.

Funds will be drawn from the Antifouling Program which was initiated under the Natural Heritage Trust and Australia's Oceans Policy to deliver on specific sectoral measures on environmental protection and safety.

"The introduction of cost-effective environmentally benign alternatives is fundamental to the protection of Australia's sensitive marine environment and the long-term health of the fishing and shellfish industries" Senator Hill said.

13 October 2000
Media Contact: Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's office) 6277 7640
Phil Burgess 6274 1418 or 0411 128 572

Commonwealth of Australia