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

FEDERAL BUDGET 2001-2002
EMBARGO: 8.00PM 22 MAY 2001


MEDIA RELEASE

COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT COMMITTED TO TACKLING GREENHOUSE


Federal Environment Minister Senator Robert Hill said the Commonwealth Government has further committed itself to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in this year's Budget.

Funding will continue for a range of Australian Greenhouse Office programs including $45.9 million for two programs that further highlight Australia's role as a leader in meeting the challenge of climate change.

"The Government has provided $21.7 million for international policy and reporting, and greenhouse sinks initiatives, along with $24.2 million for the further development of domestic greenhouse policy. This will advance Australia's involvement in the development of the international climate change agenda and in domestic responses to reducing greenhouse gas emissions," Senator Hill said.

"These programs compliment the Government's ongoing commitment of almost $1 billion in funding for domestic programs and measures aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions."

Senator Hill said that in the coming financial year more than $4.4 million would be invested in making Compressed Natural Gas more widely available to the increasing numbers of CNG vehicles on the road. Commonwealth funding will ensure this emissions reduced fuel will soon be available from nineteen additional CNG refuelling stations around the country.

"We also anticipate completing deeds of agreement for round one Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program projects that will see up to $102.7 million committed to those which demonstrate emissions reduction can be achieved at low cost while generating innovation, wealth and new jobs," Senator Hill said.

"A further $5 million will be committed in the coming financial year to add to the more than $45.2 million in grant funding already committed to companies at the cutting edge of renewable technologies - through the Renewable Energy Industry, Showcase and Commercialisation Programs.

"In addition, the passage of legislation to enable the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act is expected to create in excess of $2 billion of new investment in the industry with energy producers now required to source additional power from renewable technologies.

"Highlighting the great successes in the take-up rates of rebates from the Alternative Fuels Conversion and Photovoltaic Rebate Programs, a further $60 million will be made available in 2001-2002

"This Commonwealth Government funding and the domestic uptake of these and other programs further demonstrates our commitment to greenhouse emission reductions," Senator Hill said.

Contact: Belinda Huppatz 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258364

Commonwealth of Australia