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

30 April 2001

NEW ONLINE ENVIRONMENT TECHNOLOGY WINS TOP AWARD


Australia's federal environment agency has won the top prize for new government technology for an on-line resource to help business and the community understand new national environment legislation.

"I commend Environment Australia for winning a gold medal at the Government Technology Productivity Awards held in Canberra recently," Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said.

"The decision support tools for the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 will make it faster and easier for Australians to access environmental information of national significance.

"Users of the online database - almost anyone who has an interest in matters of national environmental significance - can click on a map of Australia and gain access to over 10 million records of threatened plant and animal species and protected areas.

"This is one of the largest databases of its kind in the world, and will be of interest to natural resource managers, land planners and the community in understanding how the Act operates."

"An on-line interactive interview guides users through relevant provisions of the EPBC Act, and provides electronic forms for referrals of proposals and permits."

The EPBC Act provides protection for matters of national environmental significance. It requires developers to consider whether their actions will impact on matters such as World Heritage properties, wetlands of international significance and nationally threatened or migratory species.

"These tools help users make decisions under the Act in real time - developers to meet their obligations and the Department to administer the Act," Senator Hill said.

"It includes public notifications of key information and decisions, required under the Act."

Information in the database was compiled from all levels of government. Research and community organisations also cooperated to make the database as comprehensive as possible.

"The recent Government Technology Awards highlight the importance of technology in informing Australians about important environmental issues," Senator Hill said.

The Government Technology Productivity Awards are presented by the Technology in Government Committee and are open to federal, state and local governments and statutory authorities. They recognise areas of government with improved productivity and better service with the aid of technology.

For more information on this award and this new resource visit http://www.environment.gov.au/gtp/index.html

April 30, 2001

Media contact:
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's Office): (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
Tricia Kaye (Environment Australia): (02) 6274 1107
Nick Gascoigne (Environment Australia): (02) 62741821

Commonwealth of Australia