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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
Senator Robert Hill
Federal Minister for the
Environment and Heritage
Brendan Smyth MLA
Deputy Chief Minister
Minister for Urban Services
Australian Capital Territory
'Environmental volunteering' will be the theme of Australia's World Environment Day 2001 celebrations, which this year will focus on Canberra as the national host city.
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said he was delighted that the ACT Environment Minister, Brendan Smyth, had accepted his invitation to host World Environment Day on 5 June.
"It is fitting that in our Centenary year, World Environment Day should be celebrated in our National Capital," Senator Hill said.
"With its balance of natural and urban environments and a thriving environmental management industry, Canberra is a great example of how business, governments and ordinary Australians can work together to protect and conserve their environment.
"A highlight of this year's program will be the presentation of the Banksia Environmental Awards at the recently opened National Museum of Australia on 2 June.
"The Awards will recognise Australia's great environmental achievers, and attract environmental experts from across Australia."
World Environment Day 2001 will feature a wide ranging program of events from 31 May, including an environmental fair, activities in schools, and a meeting of the National Environmental Education Council. The Council is chaired by the ABC Science Show's Robyn Williams and its members include Tim Flannery and Mandawuy Yunupingu.
Brendan Smyth said World Environment Day 2001 was an excellent opportunity for Canberra to showcase not only its beautiful environment, but also its best practice environmental technologies and expertise.
"The ACT is a sister city with Beijing, and is advising the Chinese Government on environmental issues as a part of its bid for the 2008 Olympic Games," Mr Smyth said.
"Chinese officials will be joining us in Canberra for World Environment Day-helping make this a truly international event. They will be meeting with Canberra's environmental experts and touring our world class environmental facilities.
"World Environment Day's key community event in Canberra, the annual 'Environment Fair', will be held in Civic on Saturday 2 June.
"Local environment groups, businesses, the ACT and Commonwealth Governments will have experts on hand to talk about environmental issues and how we can all contribute to protecting the environment," Mr Smyth said.
Senator for the ACT Margaret Reid, urged all Canberrans to think about how they could contribute to the environment on World Environment Day, and acknowledged those who were already working on environmental projects.
"Since this is the International Year of Volunteers, and the theme of our Centenary year is 'Australia. It's what we make it', World Environment Day is an ideal opportunity to say 'thank you' to all of Australia's environmental volunteers," Senator Reid said.
"Hundreds of ACT residents have volunteered their time and energy to work on more than 80 Natural Heritage Trust projects in our local area.
"They have been supported by more than $5.16 million in Commonwealth funding from the Federal Government's Natural Heritage Trust program.
"Local residents are part of a community of more than 300 000 people who have worked on more than 10 000 Trust projects throughout Australia since 1996.
"Environmental volunteers work includes planting trees, weeding, picking up litter, fencing, looking after endangered wildlife and monitoring our air and water quality," Senator Reid said.
"On World Environment Day 2001 our community can pay tribute to their efforts, which make a major contribution to our Bush Capital.
"Canberra's school children will also help celebrate World Environment Day 2001 with a variety of activities including tree plantings, clean-ups, and school energy audits."
The Commonwealth and ACT Governments are working with Canberra's community and business groups on a broad range of World Environment Day activities.
World Environment Day is a United Nations day falling on 5 June each year. It is celebrated in over 100 countries worldwide. In 2000 Adelaide was the international host city for World Environment Day.
8 May 2001
Tamsin Davies (Brendan Smyth's office) 6205 0062 or 0418 633 145
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's office) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
Lisa McDonald (Senator Reid's office) 6247 6444 or 0414 910 204